ANZ traffic down 2% in March

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Air New Zealand (ANZ) has posted a 2% fall in RPKs in March as long-haul passenger numbers decline.

Short-haul RPKs remained flat, while long-haul RPKs fell 4%, says the Star Alliance carrier. It defines domestic, Australia and Pacific Islands traffic as short-haul, while traffic from Asia, North America and Europe is considered long-haul.

In real numbers, the total number of passengers carried by ANZ remained flat at 1.2 million. Short-haul passenger numbers grew 0.5% to 1.1 million, while long-haul passenger numbers fell 4% to 163,000, says ANZ.

Overall capacity, as measured in ASKs, fell 8%. Short-haul capacity was cut 5% and long-haul ASKs were down 10%.

The airline's passenger load factor grew five percentage points to 82.7% from 77.7%, says ANZ.

In an update on its operations, the carrier says it has not operated flights to the UK from Hong Kong and Los Angeles since 15 April due to a shutdown of European airspace caused by the volcanic ash cloud.

ANZ estimates a net loss of NZ$500,000 ($356,000) a day as a result of the flight disruptions.

"Air New Zealand is currently mitigating the cost to the business where possible and is ready to recommence flights as soon as the restrictions are lifted," says the airline.