Why did the Qantas share price plunge 19% in June?

With July upon us, we look at the headwinds that battered the flying kangaroo in June and a few offsetting tailwinds.

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Key points

  • The Qantas share price fell 19% in June
  • The airline is facing staff shortages and soaring jet fuel costs
  • Qantas flew the first direct flight from Australia to Europe in June

The Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) share price hit some significant turbulence in June.

To be fair, it was a difficult month for many S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) shares, with the benchmark index closing the month down 8.9%.

But the Qantas share price fell much further, down 18.9% from the closing bell on 31 March.

Here’s what impacted the ASX airline share in June.

What headwinds dragged on the Qantas share price in June?

The first six trading days in June saw Qantas shares closely track the benchmark performance, losing 1.5% by the close on 8 June.

The next seven trading days didn’t go as well, with the Qantas share price tumbling another 19.7% by the close on 17 June.

News of significant ground staff shortages may have spooked some investors.

On 9 June news broker that Qantas had asked for volunteers from its front office managers to assist overwhelmed ground crews. Qantas is facing reduced staff numbers following the airline’s pandemic workforce reductions, just as domestic travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.

While domestic air travel has rebounded rapidly, COVID-19 continued to drag on international routes in June, with a range of differing travel restrictions remaining in some foreign destinations.

And then there’s the cost of jet fuel.

If you filled up your car in June, you’ll have noticed you’re paying a premium, thanks in large part to Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine. You likely haven’t had to fill up a jet plane, but those costs have also rocketed.

Qantas is responding to the higher costs by raising ticket prices and reducing the number of flights, working to fly with planes closer to capacity.

But those rocketing fuel costs certainly were a strong headwind for the Qantas share price in June.

On the plus side of the ledger

It wasn’t all doom and gloom last month though.

The Qantas share price enjoyed a few big boosts during June, and gained 2.5% from 17 June through to yesterday’s closing bell.

ESG investor interest, in particular, was piqued on 20 June, when the airline announced a US$200 million partnership with Airbus to spur a domestic sustainable aviation fuel industry, with the goal of significantly reducing aircraft emissions.

The airline also released a fairly bullish update on 24 June, reporting that it was on track to hit its earnings guidance. Qantas forecast earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of $450 million to $550 million for the second half of the financial year.

And the Qantas share price lifted 4.3% on 27 June after one of its aircraft made the first direct commercial flight between Australia and Europe over the prior weekend, flying from Perth to Rome.

How has the Qantas share price performed longer-term?

After a rough month in June, the Qantas share price is now down 13% in 2022. That’s right in line with the 13% year-to-date loss posted by the ASX 200.

Shares are up 90% since the 20 March 2020 pandemic sell-off lows.

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben 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 Scott Phillips.

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