May 8, 2019 / 11:29 PM / 17 days ago

Qantas Airways sees record annual revenue

(Reuters) - Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd on Thursday posted a 2.3 percent rise in third-quarter revenue and forecast record annual revenue, as more business travellers chose to fly with the airline.

The country’s largest airline said group revenue rose to A$4.4 billion ($3.08 billion) in the third quarter ended March 31.

Qantas’ overall market share of corporate travel revenue increased by 2.5 percentage points in the quarter to its highest level in three years.

Domestic demand has been mixed, with the corporate demand from the resource sector continuing to grow, Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said.

Joyce, however, added that the company is “seeing increased softness in parts of the domestic corporate market for May and June.”

The company also said it remained on track to fully offset the impact of significantly higher fuel costs, compared with last year.

In February, the airline reported a half-year underlying profit before tax of A$780 million, its lowest since 2015 as a rise in international revenue failed to fully offset a margin squeeze from higher fuel prices.

Qantas also said it had reached an agreement with Melbourne Airport to sell its domestic terminal for A$355 million.

Revenue per available seat kilometre, a measure that combines fares paid and the percentage of seats filled, grew by 5.5 percent in the four months from January 1, 2019.

The company did not provide an outlook for underlying profit before tax, its most closely watched measure, for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Reporting by Niyati Shetty and Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Anil D'Silva

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