December 12, 2014 / 6:00 AM / 4 years ago

Australia's Qantas says international, domestic chiefs to leave

Qantas Chief Executive Officer Simon Hickey speaks during the inauguration of their Qantas Singapore Lounge at Changi Airport in Singapore April 11, 2013. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Qantas Airways Ltd (QAN.AX) said on Friday that the heads of its international and domestic divisions “decided to leave” the Australian carrier, four days after the airline told shareholders it expects to swing back to profitability.

Qantas International Chief Executive Officer Simon Hickey and Qantas Domestic Chief Executive Officer Lyell Strambi will leave as the airline takes a “flatter” executive structure, Qantas said in a statement.

“In a number of roles at Qantas, but especially as the CEOs of our domestic and international airlines, Lyell and Simon have helped build a stronger Qantas,” group CEO Alan Joyce said in the statement.

The airline didn’t give a further reason for the departures, which come a year into a three-year restructure by Joyce as he watched earnings plummet amid growing international competition and a domestic price war with Virgin Australia Holdings (VAH.AX).

In 2013, Qantas formed an alliance with Emirates Airline to trim losses on international routes. On the home front, Qantas and Virgin in August declared the end of their years-long price war, which had led both airlines to run some routes unprofitably.

The outlook for Qantas is also lifted by lower fuel costs as global oil prices decline.

Qantas said on Monday that it expects to post an underlying net profit over A$300 million ($248 million) for the six months to Dec. 30 compared with a A$2.8 billion loss for fiscal 2014.

The upbeat profit guidance sent Qantas shares to their highest since February 2011. On Friday, the stock closed 1.64 percent lower at A$2.40, just off its Monday multi-year high, in a weaker overall market.

Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Ryan Woo

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