Air New Zealand narrows pandemic-related losses

·2-min read
Air New Zealand saw strong domestic and cargo demand, which helped offset its losses

Air New Zealand managed to cut its losses by a third in the last financial year as strong domestic and cargo demand partially offset the impact of the global pandemic, the airline said Thursday.

The flag carrier said its net loss for the 12 months to the end of June was NZ$289 million (US$202 million), compared with a NZ$454 million hit the previous year.

The result was boosted by a 71 percent increase in cargo revenue and a recovery in domestic demand to 93 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

However, border closures meant operating revenue slipped 48 percent to NZ$2.5 billion.

Chairwoman Therese Walsh said the loss reflected a reality in which Air New Zealand was still unable to operate two-thirds of its passenger network.

"In a severely constrained environment, Air New Zealand maintained cost discipline, focusing on delivering with excellence in the areas in its control," she said.

"The return of a strong domestic business and growth in the cargo services that underpin our key export markets was a reminder of the airline's crucial role in New Zealand's infrastructure."

The airline said the government had committed to remaining a majority shareholder after a planned capital raising, which has now been deferred to early next year.

It said New Zealand's current lockdown, imposed as the country battles an outbreak of the Delta variant, would impact the bottom line of the 2021-22 financial year.

"Given uncertainty surrounding the current national lockdown, ongoing international travel restrictions and uncertainty regarding the level of demand as these restrictions lift, Air New Zealand has suspended 2022 earnings guidance," it said.

The airline also said it did not anticipate paying a dividend until earnings had substantially improved.

Shares in Air New Zealand were down 0.98 percent at NZ$1.52 in early trading on the NZX-50, which was off 0.22 percent.


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