AIR New Zealand’s results, announced today, will set it up for a strong future, the airline said, with a special dividend for stockholders announced thanks to demand which exceeded expectations.
The airline announced earnings before taxation and other significant items of NZ$585 million, and operating revenue of NZ$6.3 billion, thanks to a rapid recovery this year.
Air New Zealand’s net profit after tax for the year is NZ$412 million, up from the NZ$591 million loss last year, with the income announcement to help fund new aircraft, digital investments, and new facilities, building a stronger airline in the years to come.
The year’s extraordinary operating environment, with strong pent-up levels of demand combined with industry-wide capacity constraints, will see Air New Zealand provide shareholders with a one-off, fully imputed special dividend of 6 cents per share.
Air New Zealand also introduced new aircraft, made digital enhancements for customers and staff, increased wages, and started work on a new engineering hangar this year, in other positive developments.
Domestic capacity for the year was at 94% of pre-COVID levels, and international capacity was at 71%, a restorative result after the year began with borders still reopening.
Air New Zealand also carried out the biggest recruitment drive in its history this year, having restored its international network, and returned all of its aircraft to the skies.
Chair Therese Walsh said the result is an important one given the critical role Air New Zealand plays in the country, both socially and economically.
“We are proud of the result Air New Zealand has delivered this financial year, and of the value we have created for our shareholders,” she said.
“This result would not have been possible without our remarkable team of Air New Zealanders.
“Their grit, determination, and commitment to deliver exceptional service for our customers is second to none.”
Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said the result follows a year in which Air New Zealand balanced customer, staff, community, and stockholder needs, while making investments for the years ahead.
“A strong Air New Zealand is good for New Zealand,” he declared.
“We have rehired and trained in a tight labour market, lifted the starting wage for the airport teams to NZ$30 an hour, and improved the way we work with digital systems on the ground and in the air.
“Restoring services to 500 flights a day is not only good for Kiwis who’ve been able to take that long planned holiday, but it has also brought tourist dollars back to the regions.”
Foran said Air New Zealand is aware increased costs and high demand have made flying more expensive, which it has attempted to remediate during the past year.
“We put more aircraft and seats in the air, so there are more choices for customers which helps alleviate the cost of flying,” he explained.
“At the same time, our own costs continue to rise and the reality is that airfares are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels.
“After several volatile years it’s great to be back in the black and standing on our own two feet especially given we have more than NZ$3.5 billion in aircraft investment coming over the next five years.”
Part of the fleet expenditure Foran alluded to was announced today as part of the airline’s results, with Air New Zealand to add four new aircraft to its short-haul and rural fleet.
Air New Zealand will welcome two new Airbus A321neos and two new ATR72-600 turboprop from late 2024, which are set to add 768,000 seats per year.
The two new 214-seat Airbus A321s will be configured for international flying, and will serve Tasman and Pacific Island routes.
They’ll add more than 9,000 seats per week to Air New Zealand’s network, ensuring the airline has more capacity across the Tasman than any other airline.
The two additional 68-seat ATR aircraft will boost capacity by more than 5,700 seats per week to rural destinations like Tauranga, Nelson, and Gisborne, in response to high demand to some of these cities.
“Flying continues to be in high demand, both here and around the world, and it means prices have been higher than usual…the most effective thing we can do to help customers is to welcome more aircraft into our fleet and put more seats in the sky,” Foran said.
“Our customers have supported us as we’ve rebuilt Air New Zealand and we know it’s important to offer a range of fares that are accessible to all New Zealanders.
“Investing in new aircraft means more seats available at more times and at reasonable prices.”