Qatar Airways has reported a profit of just over $1 billion for the first six months of the 2023/2024 financial year up to the end of September. The profit came on the back of revenues of more than $11 billion.
The Doha-based carrier said its performance had been helped by the fact that dozens of Airbus A350 aircraft that had been grounded due to a disputed paint defect have now been returned to service, resulting in the airline being able to offer 18% more Available Seat Kilometers (ASK) compared to the same period in 2022.
Qatar Airways reached an ‘amicable’ settlement with aircraft manufacturer Airbus over the paint defect debacle in February, although many of the affected aircraft had been grounded since 2021 and new aircraft deliveries were hit by a near three-year freeze.
Outgoing CEO Akbar Al Baker described the airline as a “unique business” and said that the half-year results “indicate that the Group is tracking towards another very strong year”.
Al Baker is due to step down on November 5 after giving just two weeks’ notice of his intention to quit the airline. The often outspoken executive has, however, been tight-lipped on his reasons for stepping down.
Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, who was the chief operations officer for Doha Hamad International Airport, was quickly named as Al Baker’s replacement, although it remains to be seen whether he will make any immediate changes to how Qatar Airways is run.
On Wednesday, Qatar Airways said it was facing a number of ‘headwinds’ including rising fuel prices and ‘geopolitical tensions’ in several regions that could impact passenger demand.
Despite these concerns, the airline said it still anticipated a strong performance for the remainder of the financial year.