Air New Zealand earnings slide as Emirates increases pressure

The flag carrier reports a heavy drop in profits amid stiffer competition from rivals including Emirates which has increased flights to the Pacific Ocean country.

An Air New Zealand 737 comes in to land at Wellington airport in Wellington. The carrier is suffering under increased flights to its home country from competitors including Emirates. Marty Melville / AFP
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Air New Zealand posted a 24 per cent decline in half-year profit on Thursday, hurt by rival airlines expanding rapidly into the market.

Low oil prices and double-digit growth tourism to New Zealand propelled earnings to record profits last year.

Competitors such as Emirates, Tianjin Airways and China Southern have also sought to gain a greater slice of the tourism boom, increasing the number of flights to New Zealand. Qatar Airways this month launched one of the world’s longest flights between Auckland and Doha.

Net profit for the national carrier came in at NZ$256 million (Dh674.9m) for the six months to December 31, down from a half-year record of $NZ338m in the same period last year.

The chairman Tony Carter said that the airline faced, “unprecedented competitive capacity into the New Zealand market”.

It will pay an interim dividend of NZ$0.10 per share, in line with NZ$0.10 a year ago.

The company forecast full-year earnings between NZ$475m to NZ$525m. It has previously guided for a full-year pre-tax profit between NZ$400m and NZ$600m

Air New Zealand said that higher oil prices, which jumped 50 per cent in the last year, had not affected the its half-year results, but increased fuel costs would be a headwind in the second half.

The New Zealand carrier may also face further headwinds on US routes if an attempt by American Airlines and Qantas to revive their partnership under the Trump administration is successful.

* Reuters

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