Qantas (ASX:QAN) share price rises despite big COVID-19 blowout

The market remains positive despite a big loss for the airline.

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The Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) share price is climbing higher on Thursday. This follows the release of the airline’s FY21 full-year earnings. A result of what CEO Alan Joyce described as “diabolical” trading conditions.

At the time of writing, shares in the Aussie airline are up 2.26% to $4.98 – suggesting investors had braced for even worse.

What’s happening with the Qantas share price?

Investors are buying up the Qantas share price this morning, despite the company posting a $2.3 billion loss for the 2021 financial year.

According to its results, the airline operator was at the mercy of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. As a result, the international segment was confronted with a challenging environment, to say the least.

Including freight, Qantas’ international business made a $157 million loss in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA).

While international capacity had benefitted from the trans-Tasman bubble, this was quickly squashed following the Greater Sydney lockdown. New Zealand suspended the travel agreement, citing the risk from the Delta strain as too great — this put downward pressure on the Qantas share price.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce noted his expectation for the total costs of the pandemic, stating:

It comes on top of the significant loss we reported last year and the travel restrictions we’ve seen in the past few months. By the end of this calendar year, it’s likely COVID will cost us more than $20 billion in revenue.

However, domestic travel delivered an EBITDA profit, potentially helping the Qantas share price this morning. Moreover, Qantas and Jetstar combined pulled $304 million in underlying EBITDA profit during the period.

Where to from here?

While the COVID-19 situation remains unpredictable, Qantas is expecting Victorian and New South Wales’ borders to reopen in early December.

Meanwhile, travellers hoping to look further abroad may have to wait until the end of 2021.

Surprisingly, the Qantas share price is shaking off the result this morning. Instead, investors appear to be looking ahead to the potential reopening once vaccination targets are met.

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Motley Fool contributor Mitchell Lawler has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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