2-21-18 4:42 PM EST | Email Article
   By Ben Collins 

WELLINGTON--Air New Zealand Ltd. (AIR.NZ), the country's flagship airline, said Thursday that it still expects an increase in full-year earnings despite the price of jet fuel going up, as its first-half profit fell despite it making a record amount of revenue from passengers.

The company said its earnings before taxation in the six months to Dec. 31 were 323 million New Zealand dollars ($237 million), down NZ$36 million on the previous period when they were boosted by the sale of a stake in Virgin Australia.

Air New Zealand's after-tax profit was also lower on-year, by NZ$24 million to NZ$232 million, though the company declared an 11 New Zealand cent interim dividend, a 10% increase on the prior period and the highest interim dividend in the airline's history.

Chairman Tony Carter said in a statement that shareholders "can be very pleased" with the financial performance in the first half, demonstrating the airline's resilience despite an 18% increase in fuel prices.

"This high-quality interim performance was driven by robust passenger demand and revenue growth, reflecting the airline's strong position in New Zealand and throughout our Pacific Rim network," Mr. Carter said.

The airline, which connects New Zealand to destinations in Australia, the U.S., and Asia, said the result was driven by operating revenue growth of 5.6% with robust demand across all markets and particularly strong growth in the short-haul network.

It said passenger revenue reached an all-time record for an interim result, at NZ$2.3 billion.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand also announced a new direct service to Taipei, beginning in November 2018. This will become the airline's seventh destination in Asia.


Write to Ben Collins at ben.collins@WSJ.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 21, 2018 16:42 ET (21:42 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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