Qantas upbeat despite profit dip

Image caption, The airline is seeing increased demand for leisure travel and premium class sales

Australia's national flag carrier, Qantas, has reported a 4.3% fall in annual net profits, but says it is cautiously optimistic for the future.

It made 112m Australian dollars ($100m; £64m) in the year to the end of June.

Lower ticket prices due to competition at home and the aftermath of the global recession played a part in sales falling 5.7% to A$13.8bn.

Meanwhile disruption caused by the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud led to lost revenue and extra costs of A$46m.

But the continuing recovery in demand for leisure travel and premium class seats meant that profit for the next six months could be "materially stronger" than a year earlier, chief executive Alan Joyce said.

Australia was one of just a handful of major economies that avoided falling into recession during the global downturn.

Qantas, which includes budget subsidiary Jetstar, controls about two-thirds of the Australian domestic market and about 30% of international passenger travel to and from the country.

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