25 Feb 2021

Air New Zealand revenue tumbles, airline posts $72m half-year loss

9:38 am on 25 February 2021

The enormous financial impact of Covid-19 continues to be felt by Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand Head Office on Fanshawe Street in Auckland.

The airline has posted a $72m loss for the six months to December. File photo Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

The airline has posted a net loss of $72 million for the six months ended December, compared with a profit of $101 million for the same period in 2019, pre-Covid.

Revenue sank 59 percent to $1.2 billion with network flying down by 65 percent.

Chief executive Greg Foran said he was proud of what Air New Zealand had achieved in the context of a global pandemic.

"While we made significant changes to our business and cost base, and did this more quickly than most airlines, since the outbreak of the pandemic we have still burnt through over $1 billion in our own cash reserves - that's just huge."

The airline reported domestic tourism demand was strong and it had seen the return of business demand.

The company said it had just over $170m of its own cash reserves and it still had $550m of the government's $900 million loan facility.

Foran said the airline remained optimistic about the future.

"Although it is clear that Covid-19 will continue to impact the aviation industry for some time to come, we are thrilled to see such strong results from our domestic and cargo businesses.

"We are one of the few airlines globally that has seen this level of passenger recovery and we know that is driven by our core strength on the domestic market," he said.

Air New Zealand chair Therese Walsh said the airline had taken significant steps to cut costs and the benefits were starting to flow through into the company's results.

"Compared to pre-Covid times, operating costs excluding fuel in the first half of this financial year declined more than 50 percent, and some of these are expected to be sustainable cost reductions moving forward."

The uncertainty around Covid-19 and the future of travel meant Air New Zealand was not in a position to provide guidance on its 2021 full year result.

It did indicate it expected a significant loss despite strong domestic and cargo performance.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs