Air New Zealand announces total net loss of $72 million, drop of 171 percent

Air New Zealand has announced a total net loss of $72 million, for the six months ending December 31, 2020, a drop of 171 percent on the previous six month period.

The airline's total revenue was down 59.2 percent to $1.2 billion.

Air NZ said its domestic capacity was running at 76 percent of pre-Covid levels, due to domestic tourism and the return of business demand during the first half of the 2021 financial year.

Cargo revenue was up 91 percent on the same period last year, supported by the Government’s International Airfreight Capacity scheme.

Air NZ's statement says "continued cost discipline" has resulted in a significant decline in cash burn to an average of $79 million per month from September 2020 through January 2021. The airline says for the next six months, it wants to focus on building on its successful domestic and cargo businesses, cost discipline and operational readiness ahead of border reopenings.

Airline CEO Greg Foran says that the interim results are something "the Air New Zealand whānau should be very proud of given the context of a global pandemic that has virtually suspended international air travel". 

"I could not be more proud of the way our team has gone about operating our airline in the midst of this crisis."

"They have dealt with each and every obstacle thrown their way with a huge degree of professionalism and frankly, we wouldn't be operating the level of domestic and cargo capacity we are without their extraordinary efforts," he said.  

Just over a year ago, the government threw a lifeline to the airline, by way of a $900 million loan.

At the time, finance minister Grant Robertson said the country was at risk of no longer having a national airline if government assistance wasn’t put on the table.

The Government and Air NZ agreed a debt funding agreement through commercial 24-month loan facilities of up to $900 million. 

"Air NZ has a unique and critical role in our economy and society. Also, the Government owns 52 percent of the company, which means we have a responsibility towards it. We have acted swiftly to put this loan agreement in place and support our national carrier," Robertson said.