Qantas May Post First Net Loss Since Privatization

Australian flag-carrier Qantas Airways warned of its first annual net loss since it was privatized in 1995, Reuters is reporting. The airline blames deep losses at its international operations, weak travel demand and high fuel costs, sending its shares down by a fifth to a record low.

Two weeks ago, the airline announced that it would separate its international business from its more profitable domestic unit, and follows a bruising 12 months wrangling with unions that led to the grounding of its fleet for nearly two days last year.

Chief Executive Alan Joyce, whose turnaround plan and handling of the unions has reportedly won shareholder plaudits, said the past few weeks had been particularly harsh, forcing the airline to warn investors. He also said that Qantas would post a net loss for 2011/12.