Air New Zealand released on Friday (10 June) an improved forecast for fiscal 2022, benefiting from a pick-up in demand following the opening up of domestic and international borders. New Zealand recently said it would fully reopen its international borders from end-July, and the country welcomed travelers from trans-Tasman neighbour Australia for the first time since mid-2021 in April.
The airline now expects an annual loss before tax and significant items to be less than NZ$750 million (US$478.73 million), compared to a prior forecast of less than NZ$800 million. In May, the carrier said its annual loss could come in better than expected, owing to an improvement in passenger bookings for short haul and international services.
Domestic demand has improved in recent weeks with business-related demand returning to about 90 percent of pre-COVID levels, the airline said. Air New Zealand, however, added it remains mindful of uncertain macroeconomic conditions, including COVID-19 led travel restrictions in some parts of the world and high jet fuel prices.
“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 per cent of pre-Covid levels,” the airline said in an NZX statement. There is potential for conditions to deteriorate again. “The airline remains mindful that the macroeconomic environment continues to be uncertain with disruptions caused by the impact of Covid variants, continued travel restrictions in some markets, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine contributing to high jet fuel prices,” it said.