SYDNEY, AAP – Qantas has forecast a first-half loss of more than $1.1 billion but says it has made inroads in reducing debt.

The carrier on Thursday blamed the estimated loss in underlying earnings on months of coronavirus lockdowns and travel restrictions from the Delta outbreak.

However, chief executive Alan Joyce said changes to the business made earlier in the pandemic helped the airline through the tough period.

Domestic and overseas flights have since resumed, although the Omicron variant has affected some bookings.

“The news of the Omicron variant had a clear impact on people’s confidence to book international trips in particular, but we haven’t seen large numbers of cancellations,” Mr Joyce said.

“Many customers have strong intentions to travel if their border and quarantine settings are right, and in the past few days we have seen intakes improve.”

The carrier’s debt levels have been helped by the $802 million sale of Sydney land earlier this year.

Net debt was forecast to be $5.65 billion by the end of December.

ASX shares in the company were up 0.82 per cent to $4.91 at 1022 AEDT.