Air New Zealand saw underlying losses for its 2021 financial year to 30 June widen to NZ$440 million ($279 million) from NZ$87 million a year earlier.

The carrier’s net losses, however, narrowed NZ$289 million from NZ$454 million a year earlier, as total revenue dived nearly 50% to NZ$2.5 billion, according to the carrier’s results statement.

Air New Zealand ATR 72-600

Source: Wikimedia Commons

An Air New Zealand ATR 72-600 in March 2019. The carrier’s domestic market was one bright spot in an otherwise dismal 2021 financial year

Air NZ’s underlying losses reflect “losses before other significant items and taxation.”

Passenger revenue for the year – the first in which the coronavirus pandemic is fully reflected - fell 63% to NZ$1.47 billion. Cargo revenue, however, rose 41.6% to NZ$769 million.

The carrier attributed its revenue performance to the travel restrictions related to Covid-19.

“In a severely constrained environment, Air New Zealand maintained cost discipline, focusing on delivering with excellence in the areas in its control,” says carrier chairman Therese Walsh. “The return of a strong domestic business and growth in the cargo services that underpin our key export markets was a reminder of the airline’s crucial role in New Zealand’s infrastructure.”

Total passengers in the 12 months to 30 June fell 36% to 8.6 million. This mainly reflects a collapse on international routes, where Air NZ carried 458,000 passengers, down from 4.7 million during its 2020 financial year, and 6.2 million in its pre-pandemic 2019 financial year.

Total ASKs dived 84.3% on the disappearance of international flying, while domestic ASKs were flat. Air NZ’s total passenger flights flown decreased 71.6% 10,304, while cargo only flights nearly quadrupled to 7,106.

Total RPKs dived 80%, mainly on the collapse in international RPKs, while domestic RPKs were resilient with just a 67.7% decline.

Group load factors fell 29.6 percentage points to 57.3%.

Given that New Zealand’s domestic market was largely open for most of the 2021 financial year owing to Wellington’s successful management of the virus, domestic traffic fell just 7.1% to 8.2 million passengers.

As of 30 June, the carrier’s cash and cash equivalents stood at NZ$266 million, down from $438 million a year earlier.

Noting that New Zealand is currently under a national lockdown with the arrival of the Delta variant in the community, the airline is suspending its earnings guidance for 2022.