Australia and New Zealand’s national carriers say the worst of the coronavirus crisis is over, despite reporting annual losses for the third year in a row.
Even though they have reported annual losses for the third year in a row, the national carriers of Australia and New Zealand say that the worst of the coronavirus crisis is now behind them.
According to Qantas, demand has increased “now that the existential crisis posed by the pandemic has been resolved.”
Since March, Air New Zealand has also reported “a very strong recovery in bookings and revenues,” according to the company’s statement.
Both nations had enacted travel restrictions that were among the most stringent in the world due to the pandemic.
According to a statement released by Qantas on Thursday, the airline’s underlying loss before tax increased to A$1.86 billion ($1.3 billion; £1.1 billion) in the year that ended in June, compared to the previous year.
The company reported that it had reduced its net debt to a figure that was better than the anticipated A$3.94 billion.
The chief executive officer of Qantas, Alan Joyce, commented that “the speed and scale of that recovery has been exceptional.”
“Our teams have done an amazing job throughout the restart, and our customers have been extremely patient as the entire industry has dealt with sick leave and labor shortages in the past few months,” Mr. Joyce added. “Our customers have been extremely patient as we have dealt with sick leave and labor shortages in the past few months.”
In February, Australia resumed allowing tourists from other countries to enter the country. That brought an end to a period that had lasted almost two years.
Qantas, along with the majority of the world’s airline industry, has been having trouble resuming its services since borders have been reopened.
In order to combat the severe lack of available workers, it requested that senior executives take on the role of baggage handlers at the airports in Sydney and Melbourne.
Flying is the only realistic way to get around Australia in a hurry due to the country’s vast distances and lack of a decent inter-city rail network (even between Sydney and Melbourne, which is one of the busiest air routes in the world). If you are in a rush, your only option is to drive.
However, despite the recent uptick in demand from tourists, the experience has not always been one that is particularly pleasurable.
My fellow travelers on a recent flight with Qantas that left from Sydney boarded the aircraft with an intensity that I’d never witnessed before. But the reason quickly became obvious.
Because reports of misplaced or delayed baggage have become so common, passengers no longer take the risk of putting their luggage in the hold. This is perhaps understandable.
They are, however, vying for limited space in the overhead lockers. My ability to play Tetris was put to the test when I couldn’t find anywhere to put anything, not even my laptop bag.
On the tarmac, everyone’s mood was affected by the delay of one hour, but we were the ones who got off easy. As airlines continue to face difficulties with crew members calling in sick due to the flu and Covid, departure boards are filled with a large number of last-minute cancellations.
There have been staffing shortages and baggage handling problems with other airlines as well. However, because it is Australia’s national airline, Qantas has the most public profile. And because it had to let go of thousands of people working in baggage handling because of the pandemic, it is an easy target.
In the earlier part of this week, the chief executive who is currently under fire, Alan Joyce, was on the offensive, offering not only apologies but also discount vouchers, lounge passes, and status extensions for those frequent flyers who are the foundation of the company.
The most recent findings suggest that the company’s primary challenge is not so much luring people back into the air. The increase in bookings is evidence that people are interested in traveling again.
Over time, that will contribute to the balance sheet’s recovery. However, Qantas is aware that it needs to work just as quickly to repair its reputation.
Also on Thursday, Air New Zealand announced that its losses before taxes had increased to NZ$725 million ($449.8 million; £380.7 million) in the year that ended on June 30.
During the same period, the company’s operating revenue increased by 9%, reaching NZ$2.7 billion.
Greg Foran, the Chief Executive Officer of Air New Zealand, stated that the company was currently in the “revive” phase of its Covid-19 turnaround.
According to Mr. Foran, “When travel restrictions began to be lifted in March, the company recorded a very strong recovery in bookings and revenues.”
He went on to say that this pattern maintains itself, with high booking levels through the months of July and August.
In the early part of this month, New Zealand opened its borders to travellers for the first time since March of 2020.