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Australia’s Qantas says international flights ‘unlikely’ to resume before July 2021

Qantas 737-800 aircraft parked on the east-west runway at Sydney Airport due to lack of parking on May 20, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, aircraft parking at Sydney's main airport has been limited therefore the authorities at the airport have granted exceptional permission to park on the east-west runway whilst the situation exists. (Provided Photo/James D. Morgan/Getty Images via CNN)

(CNN) — Australian carrier Qantas Airways announced Thursday that it’s “unlikely” to resume international flights before July 2021, as it suffers heavy losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline reported a 2.7 billion Australian dollars ($1.9 billion) loss for the financial year that ended in June, and a 91% drop in profit from the prior year.

The company said it saw a revenue drop of 4 billion Australian dollars ($2.9 billion) in the second half of the financial year due to the “Covid-19 crisis and associated border restrictions.”

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement that the second half of fiscal year 2020 was the “toughest set of conditions the national carrier had faced in its 100 years” but added that the company had the “resilience to deal with them.”

“We’ve had to make some very tough decisions in the past few months to guarantee our future. At least 6,000 of our people will leave the business through no fault of their own, and thousands more will be stood down for a long time,” Joyce said. “Recovery will take time and it will be choppy.”

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the airline industry hard. The International Air Transport Association, an airline trade organization, said in July that it doesn’t expect global air travel to recover from the crisis until 2024.

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