Qantas posts sharply higher profits amid Dreamliner payment, improvement in international unit

SYDNEY – Qantas Airways Ltd. said Thursday its first-half profit more than doubled after losses slowed in its long-suffering international division and it pocketed cash from delays in the delivery of Boeing’s troubled 787 Dreamliner jets.

Net profit for the six months to Dec. 31 was 111 million Australian dollars ($114 million), up 164 per cent from AU$42 million in the same period a year ago, the airline said in a statement.

Qantas partly credited the positive result to an AU$125 million payment it received from U.S.-based Boeing for delays in the delivery of its 787 Dreamliners. The airline has ordered 14 Dreamliners, with the first delivery expected in August. The settlement relates to an earlier delivery delay and is not connected to recent issues with the Dreamliner’s batteries that have kept the jets grounded for a month.

The airline’s struggling international division posted a loss of AU$91 million, a 65 per cent improvement over its loss in the same period last year.

“The operating environment remains complex and volatile, but we are now beginning to realize the benefits of the tough decisions that we have made over the past 18 months,” CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement.