By 3 News online staff
Half yearly earnings for Air New Zealand have jumped more than 300 percent.
The airline’s normalised earnings before tax for the first half of the current financial year were $139 million, up from $33 million.
In results just released, the company also increased statutory net profit after tax from $62 million to $100 million. Operating revenue is up 3.4 percent to $2.4 billion, and operating cash flow has more than doubled to $343 million.
Chairman John Palmer says the interim profit results are the best the airline has posted in five years.
“The substantial change programme the airline has been implementing has positioned the business for consistent growth and sustainable profitability over the coming years,” he says in a statement.
On the strong showing, an interim dividend of three cents per share has been declared – up 50 percent on the previous corresponding period.
The airline has also announced the arrival in 2014 of two additional Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which will be leased.
Chief executive Christopher Luxon says demand has increased on Air New Zealand’s domestic routes.
"It has been particularly pleasing to see regional New Zealand embrace our commitment to more deals every day," he says.
Cargo business is also performing well for the airline – providing a 9 percent boost in revenue to $164 million in the first half of the year.
"This is an outstanding performance given the difficulties many of our cargo competitors have experienced globally," says Mr Luxon.
And Mr Luxon says that for the first time since the global financial crisis, the airline’s international long-haul services have become profitable.
"A key driver in achieving this turnaround has been getting our network right and improving our sales execution.”
The airline is now predicting earnings before tax for the second half of the year to comfortably exceed the corresponding period last year.