Qatar Airways hits turbulence, reports $639mn net loss for fiscal year 2019

Qatar Airways has registered a net loss of  $639mn for the year to March 2019, in what His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive for Qatar Airways, called a “challenging year”.

In its annual report published today, Baker attributed this to the “loss of mature routes, higher fuel costs and foreign exchange fluctuations” and added that the year was still a year of achievement “in the face of adversity for Qatar Airways”.

The Group CEO said that in spite of the difficulties, he was proud that Qatar Airways had grown its fleet and network and seen an overall increase in revenue, higher passenger count and the airline’s “cargo business is now the largest in the world.”

Qatar has been plagued by key market restrictions of air space, which it calls “illegal blockade”.

The report, which emphasised on the group’s financial health being robust, pegged its overall revenue increase to $13.2bn, a rise of 14%.  Passenger revenue grew by 14.3% with capacity (Available Seat Kilometers) growth of 13.5%.

The group’s cargo revenue posted a significant growth of 16.8% with cargo capacity (Available Tonne Kilometers) growing 11.8%annually. Executive jet revenue also witnessed a substantial growth of 18.4% in comparison to the previous year.

Apart from launching 11 new destinations during the fiscal year 2019, the airlines welcomed its 250thaircraft in March earlier this year. It the offing is the addition of more than 300 aircraft worth $85bn (including options and Letters of Intent)

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The group also bolstered its investment portfolio by acquiring five per cent of the total issued share capital of China Southern Airlines. This shareholding sits alongside its existing holdings in airlines such as Air Italy, Cathay Pacific, IAG, JetSuite and LATAM, according to the report.

Overall, the group invested $4.4bn in the acquisition of aircraft and other assets as well as the acquisition of shares of international airlines during the year, the report added.

“Our success is due to an unwavering belief in our strategy to give our passengers the very best, backed by the perseverance and hard work of our staff. I look forward to 2019-2020 with optimism and confidence that our growth will continue and we will serve even more countries around the world,” Baker said in the report.

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