Qatar Airways on September 18 reported a net operating loss of QAR 1.850 billion for its fiscal year 2018-2019, down from -26 million the previous year. The loss attributable to its shareholder is even higher: QAR 2.330 billion, compared to -252 million the previous year.
The state-owned airline blames the loss on higher fuel costs, currency fluctuations, and the loss of routes. And that has all to do with what it calls “the illegal blockade” of the country and the surrounding airspace by neighboring-countries since June 2017. In the year after the blockade and into 2018-19, Qatar Airways opened up 24 new routes into Europe, Asia, and Africa to compensate for lost traffic to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. This only partly compensated for the loss of revenues. Plans to open routes to destinations in West and Central Africa and South America had to be suspended as Qatar Airways says it was blocked from operating to there. By contrast, the airline is most happy with the EU-Qatar air transport agreement signed last February that opens up new options for the airline.
Despite announcing a loss, Qatar Airways carried more passengers: 29.4 million compared to 29.1 million in FY18. Revenues and other operating income increased to QAR 48.158 billion from 42.235 billion. EBITDAR pas QAR 8.820 billion, down from 9.714 billion. Available Seat Kilometers were 231.094 million versus 203.650. Its cargo fleet transported 1.45 billion tonnes of cargo, compared to 1.39 billion last year.
During FY19, Qatar Airways expanded its investments in foreign airlines to China Southern Airlines (5 percent), adding to its 49 percent share in Air Italy, 21.43 percent in International Airlines Group (IAG), 10 percent in LATAM, and 9,99 percent in Cathay Pacific.
The financial statement discloses that Air Italy suffered a QAR 541.8 million loss compared to 31.1 million in FY18, of which is 265.5 million attributable to the group. Revenues of the Italian subsidiary were QAR 1.1 billion versus 343 million.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.