Qantas says a jump in forward bookings and higher airfares has helped offset rising fuel costs for a 6.3 per cent rise in first-quarter revenue to $4.41 billion.
The airliner said on Thursday the value of forward bookings was up eight per cent on flat capacity compared with same time last year, and 6.2 per cent up on the June quarter, with travel demand strong across the business and leisure markets.
Passengers paid 5.4 per cent more on average for seats over the quarter, with the strong revenue performance also offsetting higher commissions paid to travel agents, and the impact of a weaker Australian dollar.
Revenue across Qantas and Jetstar’s domestic operations was up 6.8 per cent while international group revenue rose by four per cent, which it said was supported by structural changes to the network, including the addition of direct flights from Perth to London.
Chief executive Alan Joyce said he was confident forward bookings would help Qantas manage higher fuel costs, which are expected to hit $4.09 billion in FY19, compared with $3.23 billion for FY18.
“Market demand for travel remains fundamentally strong and we’re seeing some wind-back of competitor capacity growth,” he said.
On Thursday the airliner also announced a multi-million dollar investment in a new First Lounge, as well as an expansion of its existing Business Lounge, at Singapore Changi Airport, which will increase Qantas’ total lounge capacity at the airport by 60 per cent.
Qantas shares were trading at $5.62 at 0930 AEDT, down 20.5 per cent from August’s historic peak of $6.92.