Struggling Australian flag carrier Qantas on Thursday posted a huge annual net loss of Aus$2.84 billion (US$2.65 billion), but chief executive Alan Joyce insisted better days lie ahead.
The worse-then-expected result compared to a wafer-thin profit in the previous year, with one-off restructuring and redundancy costs and writedowns to its fleet hammering the bottom line.
Qantas' underlying loss before tax in the 12 months to June 30 -- its preferred measure of financial performance which excludes one-off costs and writedowns -- was Aus$646 million.
Analysts had been expecting a net loss of up to Aus$1.0 billion as the carrier also battles high fuel costs and fierce competition from subsidised rivals.
Qantas in February announced it was axing 5,000 jobs, deferring aircraft deliveries and freezing growth at Asian offshoot Jetstar, and Joyce said the worst was now behind the airline.
"There is no doubt today's numbers are confronting, but they represent the year that is past," he said.
"We have now come through the worst. With our accelerated Qantas Transformation programme we are already emerging as a leaner, more focused and more sustainable Qantas Group.
"There is a clear and significant easing of both international and domestic capacity growth, which will stabilise the revenue environment," he added.
"We expect a rapid improvement in the group's financial performance -– and a return to underlying profit before tax in the first half of FY15, subject to factors outside our control."