WELLINGTON: Air New Zealand Ltd has reported a bigger annual loss due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on travel and could not promise a return to profitability this year.
Richard Thomson, the airline’s chief financial officer, told analysts that while it was expecting “a significant improvement in profitability”, fluctuations in costs led by fuel were making it hard to offer any assurances at this stage.
“We’ve seen a supportive yield environment, which certainly gives us some confidence in the short term ... but, as I say, it’s very hard to give assurances that we can get back to profitability,” he said. The company is not providing an earnings forecast.
Air New Zealand recorded a fiscal 2022 loss of NZ$725mil (US$448.6mil or RM2.09bil) before tax and items, larger than the NZ$444mil (RM1.23bil) loss a year earlier.,
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The carrier said its total flying capacity for fiscal 2023 would be at 75% to 80% of pre-pandemic levels, a significant improvement in performance compared with 2022.
New Zealand began a gradual reopening of its international border in February in a boost to its national carrier.
Domestic demand has also made a robust recovery following the removal of Covid-related curbs, though high crew illness levels during the winter season have forced the airline to trim some of its capacity.
Chief executive Greg Foran said when borders began to reopen there had been a spike in demand and it has held relatively steady since, with the North American market a standout.
Air New Zealand is launching a direct flight between Auckland and New York next month to make the most of this demand. — Reuters