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A Qantas A380 built from Lego bricks

AEROSPACE ROUNDUP: Australian Carrier Qantas Roars Back Into Black

Aug. 20, 2015
AirAsia profits down on higher costs and weak Malaysian ringgit. … Seven die in Slovakian mid-air collision.

SYDNEY — Australian carrier Qantas roared back into the black on Thursday in a stunning turnaround of fortunes driven by aggressive cost-cutting, while placing an order for eight Boeing Dreamliners.

The airline posted an Aus$557 million ($409.12 million) annual net profit in the year to June 30, a sharp recovery in the space of 12 months from a net loss of Aus$2.84 billion ($2.09 billion) in the previous corresponding period.

Underlying profit before tax — Qantas’ preferred measure of financial performance, which excludes one-off costs and write-downs — was Aus$975 million ($716.14 million), compared to an Aus$646 million ($474.49 million) loss in 2014.

Qantas said its cost-cutting program had helped save Aus$894 million ($656.64 million) over the year and allowed it to pay down debt, while lower fuel prices also helped bolster the bottom line with every segment making healthy profits.

No dividend was declared but the airline announced a one-off 23 cents per share capital return to shareholders, amounting to Aus$505 million ($370.92 million).

CEO Alan Joyce hailed it as “one of the biggest turnarounds in Australian corporate history.”

AIRASIA: KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia has seen its second-quarter net profit fall mainly due to the weakening ringgit and higher costs.

The region’s biggest low-cost airline by fleet size said in a statement on Thursday that its second quarter net profit was 243 million ringgit ($58.04 million), down by 33.8% year-on year. The carrier posted a net profit of 367.2 million ringgit ($89.21 million) in the same period last year.

Its revenue remained mostly flat, rising just one percent to 1.32 billion ringgit ($320.70 million) from 1.31 billion ($318.27 million) during the same period last year.

AirAsia is led by flamboyant boss Tony Fernandes, a former record industry executive who acquired the then-failing airline in 2001. It has seen spectacular success and aggressive growth under his low-cost, low-overhead model.

PRIVATE FLIGHT: BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Seven people died Thursday morning when two planes carrying dozens of parachutists collided in mid-air in western Slovakia, the interior ministry said.

The crash involved two L-410 Turbolet sport airplanes with 38 people on board, most of them parachutists preparing for an air show, according to Zuzana Farkasova from the interior ministry’s firefighters division.The seven dead included four pilots and three parachutists, according to local media. 

Five parachutists walked away with minor injuries after the planes crashed near the village of Cerveny Kamen near the Czech border, according to health ministry spokesman Peter Bubla. However, most of the survivors were able to parachute out of the aircraft immediately after the crash, a police source told AFP. 

The accident took place when one of the planes suddenly descended onto the other, according to local media, with a propeller ripped off as they collided. 

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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Agence France-Presse

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