Australian airline Qantas has announced a record profit of $1,408 million reversing industry trends with most competitors reporting poor figures.
However chairman Leigh Clifford struck a cautionary note: "The business was starting to see the effects of a slowing economy and rising fuel prices. We have benefited from a strong revenue environment, which was supported by major investments in customer service and product. The result was further underpinned by sustained efforts to improve efficiency," he said.
Qantas staff will benefit with the award of $1,000 worth of shares and a cash bonus of $1,000.
It has been a very busy week for the airline with the announcement that its first Airbus A380 will be delivered from Toulouse to Sydney on Sunday 21 September. Weather permitting the early morning flight over Sydney Harbour Bridge should be most impressive.
The airline expects to receive three of the super Jumbos by the end of the year and has a total of 20 on order. This first plane will initially operate from 24 October two return services each week between Australia and Los Angeles - one from Melbourne and one from Sydney. The carrier is expected to introduce in early 2009 the A380 on one of its London to Sydney services, via Singapore, and will use the special facilities built at Heathrow T3. It is the first OneWorld carrier to receive the aircraft.
Qantas has also released cabin layout details of the aircraft which shows 450 seats - 14 individual First Suites (main deck), 72 in Business (upper deck), 32 in Premium Economy (which is likely to prove very attractive, also on the upper deck in a 2+3+2 layout) and 332 in Economy on the main deck. Facilities on board will be state of the art including over 1,000 electronic entertainment options and onboard connectivity.
Qantas currently offer four departures daily from Heathrow to Australia, two to Melbourne, one via Hong Kong and the other Singapore, and two to Sydney with the choice either via Bangkok or Singapore again.
Visit the Qantas A380 website for more information.
More about Qantas A380 stories here.
A380 test flight - Airbus completion centre, Hamburg