Qantas share price takes off to new multi-year high on Tuesday

A kid wearing a pilot helmet holds a paper plane up to the sky.A kid wearing a pilot helmet holds a paper plane up to the sky.

The Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) share price hit a new 52-week high today of $6.71. This represents its highest price since the COVID-19 crash.

Shares in the airline have done well for shareholders over the last year, rising by 45%. In the past six months, they have gained around 25%.

The Qantas share price has been steadily climbing since the initial reaction to the airline’s FY23 half-year result. From 23 February 2023 to now, it has gone up by almost 10%.

Investors may have harked back to that result today, as well as taking in news the airline is planning to significantly increase its workforce.

Strong travel demand continues

The company recently announced that in the first six months of the year, it made underlying net profit before tax of $1.43 billion and statutory net profit after tax (NPAT) of $1 billion. This was a big swing compared to the losses it had been seeing during COVID. The recovery has certainly been helpful for the Qantas share price.

Thanks to the strong financials, net debt declined to $2.4 billion and the business announced a share buyback of up to $500 million.

Qantas pointed to a “material improvement in operational performance and customer satisfaction”.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said:

When we restructured the business at the start of COVID, it was to make sure we could bounce back quickly when travel returned. That’s effectively what’s happened, but it’s the strength of the demand that has driven such a strong result.

Fares have risen because of higher fuel costs, but also because supply chain and resourcing issues meant capacity hasn’t kept up with demand. Now those challenges are starting to unwind, we can add more capacity and that will put downward pressure on fares.

In terms of overheads, we expect the costs we’re carrying from the extra operational buffer will start unwinding from this half and into next financial year.

Investors may not have liked the sound of “downward pressure” on fares, considering how much profit Qantas is currently making from those high fares.

However, the airline said that travel demand is expected to remain strong throughout FY23 and into FY24. Domestic and international capacity is expected to increase throughout the second half of FY23, though this could come with moderating fares. However, fares are expected to remain “significantly above” FY19 levels.

That does sound promising for profitability and the Qantas share price.

Growth plans

Last week, the company announced that it expects to create more than 8,500 new highly skilled jobs, including new pilots and engineers.

Over the next decade, Qantas is expecting to grow its number of people from 23,500 currently to 32,000 by 2033.

While hiring more people doesn’t necessarily influence the Qantas share price, it could suggest the business is expecting to become much bigger and, by extension, could be making more profit.

Qantas share price snapshot

Over the past month, the Qantas share price is up around 0.5%.

The post Qantas share price takes off to new multi-year high on Tuesday appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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