Air New Zealand's profit for the year ending 30 June 2013 has surged to New Zealand dollars (NZ$) 182 million ($143 million), more than double the same figure for the previous year, driven by a resurgence in its long-haul operations.
Operating revenue for the Star Alliance carrier grew by 3% to NZ$4.6 billion for the year, largely due to a 2.2% increase in the number of passengers carried, while yield improved by 0.9% to NZ$0.13 per RPK.
Operating expenses declined marginally from NZ$3.77 billion the year prior to NZ$3.72 billion, while its cost per ASK - excluding fuel and other adjustments - fell by four cents to 7.6 New Zealand cents per ASK.
Earnings before interest and taxation came in at NZ$256 million, which the carrier says is its best performance in five years.
The standout performance came on its long-haul network, which recorded a 4.3% rise in yield, while load factor rose 1.6 percentage points to 84%. Capacity in ASKs for that market was down 1% as it suspended Hong Kong-London and Auckland-Beijing services, while it increased frequencies to Shanghai to daily.
The Tasman and Pacific islands network also saw an increase in yield of 1.9%, although load factor slipped marginally to 83.5%. That was driven by a 6% increase in capacity in the market, while demand, measured in RPKs, only increased by 5.1%.
Those stronger performances were offset by a 5.3% fall in yield on its domestic routes as it was forced to cut fares to stimulate demand.
The carrier's cash and cash equivalents at 30 June amounted to NZ$1.15 billion.
Chairman John Palmer welcomed the result, noting that it places the carrier amongst the best performing airlines globally.
"We are focused on further improving on this result in the 2014 financial year," he says. "Based on our forecast of market demand and fuel prices at current levels, early results and forward bookings are encouraging."
Chief executive Christopher Luxon says that the carrier has a range of initiatives that it plans to roll out during the 2014 financial year under its 'Go Beyond' strategy. These include a previously announced reconfiguration of its eight Boeing 777-200ERs to bring them in line with the product offered on the larger -300ERs.
The airline will also take delivery of four Airbus A320s, one ATR 72-600 and a 777-300ER over the next year.
"Alongside this we continue to actively pursue new alliance partnerships and destinations to grow our traffic," Luxon adds.