Limited capacity for international travel has inspired more Aussies to holiday at home, and filled up the pockets of airline Qantas (ASX: QAN) which today announced a $150 million underlying profit uplift.
As such, underlying profit before tax is expected to be between $1.35 billion and $1.45 billion - $150 million more than expectations announced in mid-October.
Further, net debt is expected to fall to between $2.3 billion and $2.5 billion by 31 December.
Qantas says consumers are still putting a high priority on travel ahead of other spending categories, and there are signs that limits on international capacity is driving more domestic leisure demand, benefiting Australian tourism in turn.
The company also highlighted that it was ranked as the most on-time domestic airline in October, supported by a $200 million investment made in operations to roster more staff, continue recruitment and reserve aircraft.
In contrast, the most recent government statistics show Qantas' budget subsidiary Jetstar had the lowest on-time arrival rates of the major airlines in Australia, at 64.4 per cent in October.
According to the airline, this investment in operations will help maintain the company’s performance during the latest wave of COVID infections and into the busy Christmas period.
The update comes two weeks after Qantas sold off its remaining 12.4 per cent stake in travel agency Helloworld (ASX: HLO) for $33 million.
It also follows industrial action from some Qantas domestic cabin crew, who filed applications with the Fair Work Commission to vote on industrial action over fatigue concerns and threats to outsource work.
Today, Qantas said more than 6,500 employees - or 33 per cent of those covered by an industrial agreement, have signed up to a post-COVID enterprise bargaining arrangement.
This includes a newly finalised three-year agreement with Jetstar pilots as part of its improved pay policy, which is pending approval by the Fair Work Commission.
Qantas says it remains on track to share the benefits of its recovery with 20,000 non-executive employee via a $5,000 ‘boost payment’, and the distribution of Qantas shares to specific employees.
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