The airline posted an underlying loss of $1.86 billion and a statutory loss of $1.19 billion in a market update this morning.
The airline cited the impact of Delta and Omicron, as well as the costs of restarting flights after the lockdowns finally ended.
CEO Alan Joyce said the last three years have resulted in total revenue losses of $25 billion.
“These numbers are staggering and getting to the other side has obviously been difficult,” he said.
“We had to cut almost all flights once Delta hit and stay that way for several months before ramping back up through multiple waves of Omicron as we all learned to live with COVID in the community.”
Joyce also mentioned that sick leave and labor shortages are a serious problem as travel demand picks up.
He said there was a big improvement in baggage handling and cancellations in August, and said he expected a return to pre-COVID standards next month.
Qantas share prices surged on the news, jumping more than eight percent at the open on the ASX this morning.
Domestic flights were at 63 percent of pre-COVID levels during the last financial year, and at 103 percent as of June 30.
Fuel costs were also a major factor in Qantas’ balance sheets, up 60 per cent from 2019 prices.
The airline said it would spend $50 million this year on salary increases for staff.
Qantas today opened a new cabin crew training center in Mascot, a suburb of Sydney, with an in-flight training center due to open in late 2023.
“We are even more confident about the future than we were six months ago,” Joyce said.
“A lot of work is being done to get us back to being the best we can be, including hiring more people, rolling out new technology, and reducing domestic flights so we have more sick leave coverage.”
The board approved a market share buyback of up to $400 million, the first return to shareholders since 2019.
A century of Qantas: from inland airline to global giant