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Qantas net profit hits record high in 2004-2005 business year.

SYDNEY, Aug. 18 Kyodo

Australian air carrier Qantas announced Thursday its highest ever net profit of A$763.6 million (US$580.5 million) for the financial year ended June 30, up 17.8 percent from a year earlier.

Profit before tax was A$1.03 billion, an increase of 6.5 percent from a year earlier. Total revenue was A$12.6 billion, an increase of 11.4 percent, Qantas said.

''The company responded extremely well to ever-increasing competition, rapidly escalating oil prices and the heightened security environment,'' Chairman Margaret Jackson said in a statement.

Geoff Dixon, chief executive officer, said the extraordinary cost of fuel represented the ''greatest challenge'' to the airline in the next two years, as well as ''escalating security charges and increasingly intense competition from other airlines.''

The total Qantas Group international market share dropped to 32.2 percent for the 12 months to April, despite an increase in international capacity of 8.9 percent.

International competitors, particularly ''state-controlled hub carriers,'' were blamed, with their capacity growth exceeding 17 percent.

The Qantas Group domestic market share for the 12 months to May was 65.9 percent.

Weak leisure demand from Japan contributed to an earnings before interest and tax loss of A$11.6 million by the Qantas owned carrier, Australian Airlines.

The airline operates between the Japanese cities Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka and Sapporo, and the Australian cities Cairns, Sydney, Darwin and the Gold Coast.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Japanese tourism to Australia fell 16 percent in the past year, the Australian Financial Review reported Thursday.

The SARS crisis, global security concerns and insufficient marketing all contributed to the drop in international tourism, the report said.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Date:Aug 22, 2005
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