Qantas shares dive after warning

Qantas plane Image copyright Getty Images

Shares in Australian airline Qantas have tumbled after it warned of weaker demand.

The airline said that "some softness in demand, related to the upcoming federal election and recent drop in consumer confidence in Australia," had emerged over Easter.

As a result, Qantas said it would be cutting back on planned increases to capacity.

Shares in the carrier closed down by 10.8% at 3.62 Australian dollars.

Australia is expected to now have an election on 2 July after the federal upper house voted down legislation aimed at policing construction industry unions, allowing the government to call an early election.

"In response to changed demand conditions, the Qantas Group has revised planned capacity additions in the final three months of financial year 2016," the group said.

"Qantas Group domestic capacity growth in the final quarter will now be negative compared to the prior corresponding period."

Qantas said the changes would mean that growth in domestic capacity for the second half of the year would be revised down from 2% to between 0.5% and 1%.

Internationally, the group said it would remove three Sydney to Los Angeles services and re-direct the capacity to Singapore and Hong Kong.

Earlier this year, the airline reported a record profit of A$921m ($665m; £470m), thanks largely to lower oil prices.

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