However, all that changed with the COVID pandemic and travel markets came to a standstill.
While the company is now profitable and has been returning funds to shareholders through share buybacks, we have not yet seen the return of the Qantas dividend.
The good news is that some analysts believe its dividend could soon be taking off again.
And with Qantas shares still down materially from their highs, this could make it a good passive income option for investors.
But how good could it be? What sort of income would a $10,000 investment in the Flying Kangaroo's shares get?
Passive income from Qantas shares
Firstly, if we were to invest $10,000 into Qantas shares, we would end up owning 1,894 units. Let's now see what dividends these shares could generate.
The team at UBS has pencilled in a 10 cents per share dividend in FY 2024. That's the equivalent of a 1.9% dividend yield at current prices, which would mean $190 of passive income.
While that isn't overly exciting, it could pay to be patient. For example, a note out of Macquarie this week reveals that its analysts expect Qantas to pay a dividend of 37.5 cents per share in FY 2025.
This equates to a much more generous 7.1% dividend yield, which would mean a dividend income of $710 from our investment.
That will be $900 of passive income across both financial years if these analysts are on the money with their recommendations.
But the returns don't stop there. UBS currently has a buy rating and an $8 price target on its shares. If the Qantas share price were to reach that level, it would mean our 1,894 shares have a market value of $15,152. That's over $5,000 more than we paid for them!
Here's hoping these analysts have made the right call.