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Profits tumble at Air New Zealand

27 August 09 07:45 GMT

Air New Zealand has reported a big drop in annual profits after demand for flying during the global economic downturn fell dramatically.

For the year to the end of June, the airline made 21m New Zealand dollars ($14.3m; £8.8m), down 90% on the NZ$218m it made in the previous year.

Operating revenue came in at NZ$4.6bn, down 1.2% on a year earlier.

The carrier said profitability was also hit by increased competition and volatile exchange rates.

"Although there are some early indicators that the slump in travel demand may be showing signs of having bottomed out, it would be naive to think that there won't be bumps on the road to economic recovery," said the airline's boss Rob Fyfe.

Many major airlines have been struggling against falling passenger numbers during the downturn, with a number of them reporting big losses.

"Air New Zealand is one of a handful of carriers to remain profitable during this downturn," said Saj Ahmad, airline analyst at Gerson Lehrman Group.

"In particular, its decision to scrap first class seating on flights a few years ago is paying off since it is not hostage to demand decline in this highly contested market segment."

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