Airways New Zealand has announced its annual results for the year ending 30 June 2023, returning to profit for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Airways Group recorded a net profit after tax of $5.4 million. The core business made a net profit after tax of $0.4 million. Air navigation services revenue was higher than expected at $201.8 million, compared to a budget of $190.5 million. The commercial business, Airways International Limited (AIL), continued to perform strongly, with a net profit after tax of $5.0 million for the year.
Airways supported the recovery of the aviation sector this year – it did not seek full recovery of revenue and limited its price increases, ensuring it recovered in step with the wider industry. This was made possible by the New Zealand Government’s continued financial support of Airways. Full price recovery resumed from 1 July 2023.
This year saw the rebound in air traffic volumes following the COVID-19 pandemic and Airways safely managed 478,131 flights through the 30 million square kilometres of airspace it controls. By June 2023, domestic flight movements had all but recovered compared to the same period before the COVID-19 pandemic, with international flight movements close to full recovery.
Airways Board Chair Denise Church says the company has spent much of this year preparing to evolve with the rapidly changing aviation sector, as an employer of choice and trusted guardian of Aotearoa New Zealand’s skies. “We have launched a new 10-year company strategy that looks in depth at the changing environment and how Airways needs to be positioned in the future. It is based on four strategic pillars – putting our people first, serving all airspace users, supporting sustainable aviation and unlocking future growth. As the pace of change accelerates, Airways will continue to ensure our core air navigation business and our commercial Airways International arm work in synergy, so we are well placed to grow as a global leader in safe airspace management.”
Airways Chief Executive James Young, who was appointed this year after acting in the role for 12 months, says the company recognises the scale of change needed to ensure future success. “Airways must evolve into a more flexible operation, able to meet the needs of our existing customers and integrate new ones, while keeping our focus fixed on our core duty to keep our skies safe. This year, in addition to increasing traffic volumes, we also managed the impact of the Auckland Airport flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle, which affected the Napier and Gisborne air traffic control towers. These severe weather events underline the importance of supporting a sustainable future for the aviation industry and building resilience to climate change into our infrastructure and systems. The transformation of our business demands changes in the way we attract, train, manage and support our people to operate in new environments. We will be guided in all things by our values – that we are safe, are one Airways, strive for excellence and celebrate success.”