Rising fuel costs and strike action hit company hard

Qantas posts first annual loss in more than 15 years

Australian national airline Qantas has announced a net loss of $256m amid a soaring Australian dollar and conflict with unions over wages.

The carrier also blamed an 18% rise in fuel bills and struggling international business for the loss.

Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said he would be giving up his bonus and pay rise, signalling further austerity measures to be in place.

He said, “Qantas’ international’s turnaround plan is on track and set for improvement in 2012/13.”

Weak international business cost the airline about $470m but Joyce added that the company had made significant progress in the frequent flyer programme and building a stronger domestic business.

Joyce confirmed the operating environment, economic outlook and market volatility were key challenges.

The airline has also cancelled orders for 35 new Boeing 787 aircraft that will help save about $8.5bn at list prices.