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Less than six months after recording Australia's largest-ever losses in the airline industry, Qantas and Virgin Australia both expect to deliver a profit by the end of this year.
The forecast is a measured one based on 'underlying profit' excluding one-off charges, and neither airline is declaring how large (or small) the numbers might be.
But it's a far cry from the end of August 2014, when Qantas stunned the nation with a loss of $2.83 billion over the 2013-2014 financial year while Virgin Australia took a $355 million hit for the same period.
Both of those dramatic figures contained one-off costs which when removed from the equation saw the total combined losses trimmed to some $827 million.
However, Qantas and Virgin Australia say the tide of red ink is turning.
Speaking at this week's Virgin Australia annual general meeting, CEO John Borghetti confirmed the airline expected to report an underlying profit for the October-December 2014 quarter.
“It has been a very tough period over the past couple of years" Borghetti noted, but added that "we are coming out the other side and there are signs conditions are moderating."
"While it is difficult to give guidance... we expect to deliver underlying profit in the second quarter of 2015."
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce also says the airline is "on track to deliver an underlying profit for the first half of the (2014-2015) financial year."
In the airline's favour are early returns on the wide-ranging $2 billion cost cutting program and improved passenger numbers and yield, along with fewer seats in the skies following a truce in the damaging 'capacity war' between Qantas and Virgin Australia.
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