Qantas announces annual profit, orders new fleet of long-range DreamlinersQantas announces annual profit, orders new fleet of long-range Dreamliners

GMT 05:32 2015 Thursday ,20 August

Arab Today, arab today Qantas announces annual profit, orders new fleet of long-range DreamlinersQantas announces annual profit, orders new fleet of long-range Dreamliners

Canberra - XINHUA

Australia's national airline Qantas on Thursday unveiled a pre-tax profit of more than 718 million U.S dollars for 2014-15, a dramatic 1.18 billion U.S. dollar turnaround from the previous year's disastrous result.

Speaking at a media conference, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the net profit of 410 million U.S. dollars was "one of the biggest turnarounds in Australian corporate history" when detailing the airline's "strongest balance sheet" since the global financial crisis.

The airline's cost cutting program saved 657 million U.S. dollars over the past year and allowed it to whittle away almost a billion dollars in debt, Joyce said.

"Qantas is outperforming the market and the rest of the airline groups because of its transformation, and it's only because of the transformation that we have these strong results," he told the media.

The airline suffered from high fuel prices and aging jets at the turn of the decade, eventually announcing the contingency plan in 2013 - which expected to cut more 2 billion U.S. dollars in costs by 2017.

From 2013, Qantas cut 5,000 jobs and retired its aging fleet of fuel-guzzling Boeing 767 and Boeing 747 jets, before lower fuel prices helped the airline jump out of the red.

The country's flag carrier announced it would be giving back 372 million U.S. dollars to long-suffering shareholders who haven' t been paid dividends since 2009.

The results also prompted Joyce to announced Qantas' first firm order for eight new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

The airplanes are slated to enter service in 2017, with four to be delivered between 2017 and 2018, with the remainder to enter service between 2018 and 2019.

Joyce said the news of the profit meant it was the right time for Qantas to consolidate its fleet by ordering the long-range, fuel efficient jets.

"This milestone acquisition marks the scale of our turnaround and looks ahead to a new era for our iconic international airline, " he said on Thursday.

He said opportunities to open up new international routes will be made possible by the eight Dreamliners, which would replace five aging Boeing 747-400 jets that are set to be retired.

"The key reason we chose this particular aircraft is its incredible efficiency. Its new technology will reduce fuel burn, cut heavy maintenance requirements and open up new destinations around the globe."

"Because the 787 is smaller than the jumbos it will gradually replace, it gives us the flexibility of having more aircraft without significantly changing our overall capacity."

Joyce said additional routes such as Melbourne to Dallas, the United States, which would take the reins as the world's longest flight by distance, would be possible and profitable for the airline.

The 787s were originally ordered by the airline in 2005, but production delays and poor financial results forced Qantas to hold off committing to the aircraft.

Qantas has 20 Dreamliners on loose order with purchase options for 15 more in the future.

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