The immediate headlines for the Qantas first half profit out this morning appear misleading – yes, the bottom line was flat but the reality is that the Roo’s profits are taking off at very high speed, suddenly making the MacQanTexCoe takeover offer not all that flash.

The Qantas numbers show an interim net profit of $359 million, up just 1.7% on the previous corresponding period. However, that previous period included a particularly good tax break, so the 8.3% rise in profit before tax to $523 million is a much better indication of how the Roo was travelling – so much for being devastated by higher fuel bills.

But that’s still only a shadow of the real story. Here’s the outlook from Geoff Dixon for the full year’s figures:

We believe that the full year result will be around 30 to 40% higher than last year’s result subject to fuel costs not increasing significantly, demand continuing to grow and cost reductions not achieved in the first half being realised in the second half.

And now remember that last year’s result included $104 million “compensation” from Airbus for the late A380. So to make that forecast, Geoffrey has to know that his airline is going gangbusters with its biggest problem now simply being a lack of capacity. The money is pouring in – and thanks very much for your fuel surcharge contribution.

There is only one small fly in the fly boys’ ointment – this report by Oz aviation scribe Steve Creedy, suggesting Singapore’s Tiger Airways is looking at setting up shop on Australian domestic routes out of Perth. Now that would be interesting for the cosy duopoly.

Peter Fray

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