Qantas back into black with modest annual net profit

Australian flag carrier Qantas bounced back into the black Thursday, posting an annual net profit of Aus$5 million (US4.5 million), up from an historic Aus$245 million loss the previous year.

Its underlying profit before tax in the 12 months to June 30 -- the airline's preferred measure of financial performance -- was Aus$192 million, up from $95 million.

"The market is very tough. But we are focused on the elements we can control," said chief executive Alan Joyce as the carrier recovered from its first annual loss since privatisation in 1995.

"We have Australia's leading airlines and loyalty business -- and we have a clear strategy to build an even stronger business for the future."

The group's international division remained a weight on the company, posting a loss of Aus$246 in the year to June. But that compares with a loss of Aus$484 million in the previous year.

Earnings from Qantas's domestic business totalled Aus$365 million, down from Aus$463 million.

"Our financial position has been strengthened by the actions we have taken over past 12 months: reducing debt, extending our maturity profile and taking a prudent approach to capital expenditure," said Joyce.

"We have also continued our policy of selling non-core assets where appropriate.

"Our focus remains on building long-term shareholder value. We will continue to be disciplined in managing capital expenditure and costs, while improving the customer experience and engaging our people to provide the best possible service."