The Qantas half yearly results have been posted on the ASX website without the usual simultaneous press conference with the CEO, as Alan Joyce is still in Madrid after attending a tenth anniversary board of governors meeting for the oneworld marketing alliance.

The headline numbers are group PBT for the 6 months to 31 December of $288 million representing a 72.6% drop across all of the Qantas group excluding Jetstar to $199 million and that was after including $86 million in profit on the sale of the Qantas Holidays wholesale operation and $73 million in asset write-downs and provisions.

These are not pretty numbers.

Jetstar’s PBT fell by ‘only’ 48.2% to $72 million.

The ominous details coming into a bad trading environment are on the costs side where everything is up by double digits. Qantas verges on being blunt about the neglect of its maintenance responsibilities in the previous year, when it made a record $1.4 billion in PBT.

It says “Aircraft operating variable costs increased 13.7% …reflecting increases across all categories, particularly in engineering and heavy maintenance as the Group focuses on reducing maintenance backlogs and improving on-time performance.”

This sounds like a back hander to former CEO Geoff Dixon, who as retirement approached conceded that maintenance issues had harmed the Qantas brand.

The guidance for the Qantas full year results remains $500 million PBT, or the same amount Qantas separately announced this morning that it is seeking in an equity raising offer to shareholders.

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