SYDNEY, AAP – Qantas has widened a half-year underlying pre-tax loss of $1.28 billion as the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns and emergence of the Omicron strain weighed on its finances.

Revenue for the six months to December 31 rose 32 per cent to $3.07 billion, boosted by a record performance in its freight business and a rebound in travel demand when domestic borders reopened after lockdowns.

“Most of Australia was in lockdown for several months of the first half, so the loss we’ve announced today isn’t surprising but it is frustrating,” Group CEO Alan Joyce said on Thursday.

The carrier will not pay any interim dividend for the half year.

Qantas reported some tailwinds with travel demand strengthening and positive developments on reopening international borders in recent weeks.


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However, it expects a hit of $650 million on group earnings before interest and tax in the second half of the financial year, due to the spread of Omicron.

It expects domestic capacity to be 68 per cent of pre-COVID levels in the March quarter, rebounding to 90-100 per cent in the June quarter.

International capacity is expected to be 22 per cent of pre-COVID levels in the March quarter, lifting to 44 per cent in the fourth quarter.