Qantas Airways is looking past its record annual loss and predicting blue skies ahead, as a landmark change in Australian laws opens the door to foreign investment in the airline's international arm - its biggest headache. Sonia Legg reports
Qantas has faced many challenges - but the Flying Kangaroo could be about to take off again despite its worst ever financial loss. The Australian airline's 2.8 billion Australian dollar shocker followed a writedown of the value of its fleet and its biggest restructuring since privatisation 20 years ago. The changes have been painful but it says investors now see blue skies ahead. Its CEO is Alan Joyce. (SOUNDBITE) (English) QANTAS CEO, ALAN JOYCE SAYING: "There is no doubt that today's numbers are confronting. But they represent the year that has passed and we have now come through the worst. With our accelerated Qantas transformation programme we are already emerging as a leaner, more focused and sustainable Qantas Group. Our work is on track and we see accelerated benefits in the coming year." Qantas has been hit by increased international competition and a domestic price war with arch-rival Virgin Australia. High fuel costs and a strong Aussie dollar haven't helped. With legal changes allowing it to split its domestic and international services, Qantas will now have access to foreign investment. (SOUNDBITE) (English) QANTAS CEO, ALAN JOYCE SAYING: "The changes arising from the structural review will deliver significant short and long term benefits. Importantly, there's a clear and significant easing of both international and domestic capacity which will stabilise the operating environment which we are in." Qantas shares rose almost 9% - their biggest gain in a year. But there was a note of caution - opening the door to foreign investment doesn't necessarily mean getting it.