Air New Zealand has cut – for a second time – its full-year loss forecast, amid an uplift of travel demand following the country’s border reopening. 

For the year to 30 June, the Star Alliance carrier now expects to report a loss before other significant items and taxation of less than NZ$750 million ($480 million). 

Air New Zealand A321neo

Source: Wikimedia Commons

An Air New Zealand A321neo at Auckland International Airport in August 2019

This compares to an earlier loss forecast of less than NZ$800 million which the airline disclosed at end-March. 

In late-February, the airline anticipated a full-year loss in excess of NZ$800 million, citing uncertainty over border reopening amid the Omicron wave of coronavirus infections. 

In a stock exchange filing on 10 June, Air New Zealand says: “The airline continues to see strong passenger booking activity on short haul and international services following the opening of the New Zealand border. Domestic demand has also improved in recent weeks with business-related demand returning to approximately 90% of pre-Covid levels.” 

It marks a change in outlook from the airline, which as recently as end-March flagged uncertainty over how quickly international travel might rebound, despite Wellington committing to reopening the country’s borders. 

It also warned then that it expects to continue to be loss-making in the near term, though this would be subject to the level and pace of the return of demand.

In its latest disclosure, Air New Zealand warns that challenges still persist, despite positive signs of recovery. 

“The airline remains mindful that the macroeconomic environment continues to be uncertain with disruptions caused by the impact of Covid-19 variants, continued travel restrictions in some markets, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine contributing to high jet fuel prices,” it states.