WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand's national airline on Wednesday posted a 24 percent jump in annual profit after benefiting from lower fuel costs and continuing its expansion in Asia and North America.
Air New Zealand announced after-tax profits of 327 million New Zealand dollars (US$212 million) for the year to the end of June. Revenue was up 6 percent to NZ$4.9 billion.
The company said domestic passenger numbers were up 3.4 percent and long-haul international numbers up 9.3 percent. The company said it plans to add routes to Houston and Buenos Aires over the coming year as it expands its international capacity by 15 percent.
"Given the current known operating environment, along with our increased capacity and improved operating efficiencies, we expect to achieve significant earnings growth in the coming year," board chairman Tony Carter said in a statement.
The airline was the launch customer for the 787-9, the stretch version of Boeing's fuel-efficient Dreamliner. The airline plans to have six Dreamliners in service by next year and 12 by 2019 as it spends a projected NZ$2.6 billion on planes.
But the airline's growth has meant its net debt has more than doubled over the past financial year to NZ$836 million.
The carrier is majority owned by the New Zealand government and is also listed on the local stock market. The company's shares were down by 2 percent after the results were announced.
A bonus scheme introduced to reward workers when the company performs well will result in 8,000 staff getting bonuses of up to NZ$1,400 each.