21 Feb 2013

Qantas profits rise

11:52 am on 21 February 2013

Qantas has nearly tripled its first half profit as it benefits from recent cost cutting and changes to its structure.

The Australian airline made a net profit of $AA111 million in the six months to 31 December, up from $A42 million in the previous corresponding period.

The result falls below analyst expectations of a net profit of $A138 million, AAP reports.

Chief executive Alan Joyce said in a statement on Thursday the operating environment remained "complex and volatile" but the company was beginning to realise the benefits of the tough decisions made over the past 18 months.

The airline's underlying profit before tax, which excludes one-off financial items, was $A223 million, up 10% from $A202 million in the previous corresponding period.

Qantas in November forecast an underlying profit before tax in the range of $A180 million to $A230 million.

All parts of the airline's business were profitable in the period, except for its international division, which made a loss of $A91 million in the six months to December.

That was an improvement from a $A262 million loss in the previous corresponding period.

Changes to the business, including a proposed alliance with Emirates, were expected to return it to profit, Mr Joyce said.

"Qantas International is well advanced in its turnaround plan," he said.

No specific guidance for the full year was provided, due to economic uncertainty, Mr Joyce said.

Qantas said it would again not pay an interim dividend to shareholders.