Qantas Says First-Half Profit Fall Less Than Expected; Slashes Flights in Asia 

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By Alex Ho – Qantas Airways Ltd (ASX:) said it is reducing its flight services in Asia and halting recruitment due to the coronavirus outbreak that started in China.

In a statement, Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said the airline could extend the cuts, or “add seats back” if demand resumes.

The airline had already trimmed capacity to Hong Kong in response to anti-government protests last year.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Joyce said Qantas could double its capacity cuts if fallout from the virus deteriorates.

“When this is over, there will be pent-up demand,” Joyce said. “When the market does recover, we certainly want to be flying the entire fleet.”

Separately, the airline said its first-half profit fell less than estimates. Underlying profit fell 0.5% to A$771 million, compared to the expected A$754 million.

The company’s shares surged 5.5% to A6.64 by 12:10 AM ET (04:10 GMT).

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