After completing a three-year turnaround programme, Qantas is reporting its second best year in terms of underlying profits while unveiling a multi-million dollar cabin upgrade for its fleet of 12 Airbus A380s.
For FY2017 ending June 30, the Qantas Group posted underlying profits before tax of A$1.4 billion (US$1.1 billion) and a statutory profit before tax of nearly A$1.2 billion. The underlying result represents the second highest performance in Qantas’ 97-year history, down 8.6 per cent compared with last year’s record.
Overall, the FY17 performance shows the group’s margin advantage over many of its competitors, underpinned by completion of its three-year transformation programme, it said in a statement.
Through the programme, initiated to make the group profitable, Qantas managed to “tackle some difficult structural issues, become more efficient and (improve) customer service”, said CEO Alan Joyce.
Along with its financial results, Qantas also announced it will upgrade its Airbus A380 fleet to meet increased customer demand for premium cabins on flights to the US, Europe and Asia.
On the upper deck, 30 economy seats will be removed and partitions rearranged, making room for the addition of six business class and 25 premium economy seats, increasing the overall seat count on the aircraft by one and increasing premium seating by 27 per cent.
The airline’s all-new premium economy seats will be installed in a 2-3-2 configuration. This seat is almost 10 per cent wider than the model it replaces and will debut on the incoming 787 Dreamliner later this year.
Business Class Skybeds will also be replaced with the latest version of Qantas’ Business Suites, and first and economy class seats will be refurbished with new cushioning and improved inflight entertainment.
Work on the first A380 is expected to begin in 2Q2019, with all 12 aircraft set to be upgraded by the end of 2020.