Middle East state-owned carrier Qatar Airways on Thursday reported a full-year profit, reversing a trend of annual losses since 2018 driven by a regional airspace ban and the pandemic.
The airline, which only operates international flights, said it made a profit of 5.6 billion riyal ($1.5 billion) in the year to 31 March , compared to a year-ago loss of 14.8 billion.
It said revenue climbed 78% to 52.3 billion riyal, while passenger traffic more than tripled to 18.5 million.
Qatar Airways has reported losses since its 2017/18 financial year, which it mostly blamed on an airspace ban enforced on it by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries who had a political dispute with Qatar's government. It has also blamed the impact of the pandemic.
That ban, which forced the airline to operate longer, more expensive routes, was lifted after the Arab governments reached an agreement with Qatar in January 2021 to end the dispute.
Qatar Airways is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Airbus over flaws to the protective skin of A350 wide-body jets it has ordered from the European planemaker.
Qatar Airways is suing Airbus in a British court for $1 billion in damages after grounding around two dozen of its A350s experiencing the flaws, which it says raise safety concerns - something Airbus and European regulators deny.
Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said Thursday the airline continued to face significant challenges to its fleet capacity and network expansion plans, citing "unforeseen circumstances."
He said Qatar Airways would have expanded its network faster which would have helped business fundamentals to a greater degree had that additional capacity been available.
($1 = 3.6400 Qatar riyals)