SYDNEY (AP) -- Shares of Qantas Airways plummeted Tuesday to an all-time low after the Australian flagship carrier forecast a drop of up to 91 percent in full year earnings.
Qantas said European economic woes and a soaring fuel bill will likely result in losses at its international business more than doubling in the year ending June 30. It also faces tough competition in its home market.
Qantas expects underlying pretax profit in the 2011-12 fiscal year in a range of $50 million Australian dollars ($48 million) to $100 million Australian dollars — a plunge from the previous year's $552 million.
"The forecast result reflects the recent deterioration in global aviation operating conditions driven by the European economic crisis, the group's highest ever jet fuel bill, and substantial capacity increases in the domestic market that have reduced yields," Qantas said in a statement.
The news pummeled the airline's stock price. Shares plunged 17.6 percent by midday. The stock price has shed 40 percent in the past 11 months.
Qantas's international business is expected to post a loss of more than $450 million in the year to June 30, more than double the loss of $216 million it posted a year earlier.
The airline's domestic operations are forecast to deliver earnings of more than $600 million, up from $552 million in the previous financial year.
Qantas's net profit for the year to June 30 will be hurt by restructuring, which is forecast to cost $370 million to $380 million.