Qatar Airways Group has reported a net loss of QR2.3 billion ($639 million) for the 2018/19 fiscal year, as losses at Air Italy and a 36 per cent rise in fuel costs pulled performance down.
Air Italy generated a QR542 million loss for the financial year to 31 March, of which the Qatar Airways Group share amounts to QR265.5 million. Qatar Airways Group took a 49 per cent interest in the parent company of Air Italy in September 2017.
Qatar Airways itself reported an operating loss of almost QR 1.85 billion, the company’s consolidated accounts show.
Overall revenue and other operating income grew by 14 per cent to QR48 billion. Passenger revenue grew by 14.3 per cent to QR34.1 billion with capacity growth of 13.5 per cent. Cargo revenue grew 16.8 per cent to QR10 billion with cargo capacity growing 11.8 per cent annually.
The carrier published the results in its annual report for 2018-19, which it said highlight the group’s success and underlying robust financial health in the face of the continued illegal airspace blockade against the State of Qatar.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker (pictured left) said: “2018-19 was a year of achievement in the face of adversity for Qatar Airways. Despite facing challenges that are unparalleled in the airline industry, I am very proud that we have grown our fleet, expanded our network and seen overall revenue increase to QR 48 billion ($13.2 billion), a rise of 14%.
“Passenger numbers are up, capacity as measured by available seat kilometres has risen and our Cargo business is now the largest in the world.
“2018-19 was nonetheless a challenging year and while it is disappointing that Group has registered a net loss of QR2.3 billion ($639 million) – attributable to the loss of mature routes, higher fuel costs and foreign exchange fluctuations – the underlying fundamentals of our business remain extremely robust.”
He added he looks forward to 2019-2020 with “optimism and confidence” that the airline’s growth will continue and it will serve even more countries around the world.
The airline launched 11 new destinations during the fiscal year 2019 and has now added a total of 31 (as at 1 September 2019) since the start of the illegal blockade, growing its network to over 160 gateways around the world.
The airline’s fleet grew by 25 aircraft to a point where it welcomed its 250th aircraft in March 2019. With more than 300 aircraft worth more than $85 billion on order (including options and Letters of Intent) the group has the capacity to continue its ambitious but sustainable network expansion strategy.
During the financial year, the Group further built its investment portfolio by acquiring five percent 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.
Overall, QR Group invested QAR 16.1 billion in acquisition of aircraft and other assets as well as acquisition of shares of international airlines during the year.