25 Aug 2011

Air NZ blames flat profit on low demand, costly fuel

4:59 pm on 25 August 2011

Air New Zealand is attributing its flat full-year profit down to low demand for international travel and the high cost of jet fuel.

The 76% Government-owned company made $81 million in the year to June, down 1% from the previous year.

Excluding one-off items, underlying profit fell 45% to $75 million.

Air New Zealand chair John Palmer says during the past six months the company has experienced the most difficult business conditions for a decade, causing it to lose $37 million.

Mr Palmer says while disasters such as the earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan have reduced demand for travel, the high New Zealand dollar has also deterred overseas visitors.

He says combined with extra flights for disaster relief efforts in Christchurch and compassionate fares for those affected by the 22 February quake, the cost to the airline is estimated to be $70 million.

However, revenue rose by nearly $300 million to $4.3 billion.