(Adds background, details on competition and oil prices)
WELLINGTON Feb 23 Air New Zealand
posted a 24 percent decline in half-year profit on Thursday,
hurt by rival airlines expanding rapidly into the market.
Low oil prices and double-digit growth tourism to New
Zealand propelled earnings to record profits last year.
Competitors like Emirates, Tianjin Airways and
China Southern have also sought to gain a greater slice of the
tourism boom, increasing the number of flights to New Zealand.
Qatar Airways this month launched one of the world's longest
flights between Auckland and Doha.
Net profit for the national carrier came in at NZ$256
million ($183.86 million) for the six months to Dec. 31, down
from a half-year record of $NZ338 million in the same period
Chairman Tony Carter said that the airline faced,
"unprecedented competitive capacity into the New Zealand
It will pay an interim dividend of NZ$0.10 per share, in
line with NZ$0.10 a year ago.
The company forecast full-year earnings between NZ$475 to
NZ$525 million. It has previously guided for a full-year pre-tax
profit between NZ$400 million and NZ$600 million
Air New Zealand said that higher oil prices, which jumped 50
percent in the last year, had not affected the its half-year
results, but increased fuel costs would be a headwind in the
The New Zealand carrier may also face further headwinds on
U.S. routes if an attempt by American Airlines < AAL.O> and
Qantas Airways to revive their partnership under the
Trump administration is successful.
($1 = 1.3924 New Zealand dollars)
(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Toby Chopra)