SYDNEY Feb 23 Qantas Airways Ltd,
Australia's biggest airline, on Thursday posted a 7.5 percent
fall in first-half underlying profit as international
competition intensified and domestic market conditions remained
Underlying pre-tax profit, its most closely watched measure,
totalled A$852 million ($656 million) for the six months to Dec.
31, down from A$921 million a year earlier but ahead of the
guidance range of A$800 million to A$850 million given in
The flagship Australian carrier announced an interim 50
percent franked dividend of A$0.07 a share, having eschewed a
dividend in favour of a A$500 million share buyback a year ago
when it lacked enough tax effective franking credits.
($1 = 1.2980 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Toby