FOLLOWING the implementation of a turnaround plan to return Qantas (ASX: QAN) to profitability, the company has recorded its second highest result in history.
Qantas' primary performance metric since 2009 has been underlying profit, and the company today revealed its result of $1.4 billion.
This was driven in no small part by $865 million in earnings in the domestic market, giving Qantas 90 per cent of the total domestic profit pool.
CEO Alan Joyce (pictured left) says the FY17 results mark the completion of a turnaround plan that has repositioned Qantas as one of the most profitable airline groups in the world.
"Three years ago, we started an ambitious turnaround program to make Qantas Group strong and profitable," says Joyce.
"Today's announcements show this plan has well-and-truly paid off. It's delivered $3.5 billion in cumulative underlying profit, record customer satisfaction and the opportunity for Qantas to grow."
Joyce expects Qantas will fly above the competition following proposed upgrades to its lounges, Wi-Fi network and aircraft fleet, as well as its diversification strategy in new markets including insurance and financial services.
The airline's fleet of 12 Airbus A380s are set to receive some upgrades to improve passenger comfort.
This will include replacing Skybeds in Business Class with the latest version of the Business Suite, increasing the size of the Premium Economy cabin, and refurbishing the Economy and First Class sections.
Qantas domestic passengers will finally receive on-board Wi-Fi from late September 2017.
The group also announced all non-executive employees of Qantas will receive a bonus of $2,500 ($2,000 for part time employees). Qantas has paid out more than $220 million in executive bonuses since 2014.
Despite its otherwise strong report, earnings in the company's Qantas Freight division failed to inspire.
Qantas Freight reported earnings of $47 million, down $17 million due to weaknesses in the international market.
Looking to the future, the company announced it is investigating direct flights from the east coast of Australia to London and New York by 2022.
The company hopes the next generation of aircraft currently under development (Airbus' A350ULR and Boeing's 777X) will have the range to make these non-stop flights possible.
"From next year we'll be flying direct from Perth to London, which is a huge leap forward," says Joyce.
"We believe advances in technology in the next few years will make Sydney to London direct a possibility and Qantas is well placed to be the airline to do it."
The Qantas Board has declared a dividend of 7 cents per share to be paid on 13 October 2017.
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