Qantas Freight soars on wings of recovery

Australian air Express and Star Track Express revenues both up

By Rob McKay | February 17, 2011

A tailwind of higher demand and surcharges has seen Qantas Freight’s first half earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) accelerate, the airline’s first half results show.

While it is not clear what the actual net profit for the period was, the airline says its freight arm’s "underlying EBIT" rose 141 percent.

"Qantas Freight’s underlying EBIT of $41 million is more than double the $17 million from the prior corresponding period," the airline says.

"Qantas Freight’s result reflects a recovery in economic activity from Global Financial Crisis lows as well as stronger volumes and yields, principally on key China/US routes.

"Yield has improved by 12 percent (excluding foreign exchange) due to market recovery and higher fuel surcharges.

"The domestic express freight market has also improved, resulting in higher earnings from the joint venture businesses Australian air Express and Star Track Express."

Australian air Express had seen revenue rise 9 percent while that for Star Track Express was 10 percent, both due to higher volumes and improved yield.

The airline insists the review of the two joint ventures was progressing well and was close to being finalised.

Revenues rose from $545 million from $494 million.

Qantas International capacity was up 1 percent, with freighter capacity up 6 percent due to additional flying.

Industry-wide airfreight growth saw a 5 percent year on year increase to last November and the strong Australian dollar had driven airfreight imports to the country but the rate of the rebound had started to wane as customers completed re-stocking of inventory.

The freight performance came as the Qantas Group trumpeted a 56 percent rise of underlying profits before tax to $417 million, compared with the previous year’s first half of $267 million.

But the "total comprehensive income for the period" was $114 million.

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