Airbus is the company that keeps on giving even when it’s not delivering – tucked away in the Qantas interim results were another $98 million in “liquidated damages” for the ever-later A380.

That would be on top of the $104 million that was added to last year’s profit as compensation for the Airbus no-show. Of course it’s not real money – just a book-keeping entry that will be eventually sorted out somewhere down the track, maybe with discounts on the final prices paid, maybe a free plane or help with leasing others, maybe some cash. But it all goes to the bottom line, which I presume helps in obtaining bonuses.

The number was fingered by Goldie Were analyst Paul Ryan but missed by the media. This is from GSJBW’s morning report:

Reported earnings included $132 million in restructuring charges and $99 million in losses on open hedge positions, partially offset by $98 million in further liquidated damages from Airbus due to delayed A380 delivery and $52 million in unredeemed Frequent Flyer revenue.

Analysts discount all that sort of stuff in looking at how the real business is going – and of course it’s going very well indeed with valuations creeping closer to the APA takeover offer, but still pulling up short.

And given that $99 million in hedge losses, Qantas CFO Peter Gregg is probably one person who won’t mind if the oil price does get back to US$60 a barrel. It would make him look smarter.

Now, about those fuel surcharges on tickets…

Peter Fray

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