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Singapore Airlines lifts 2016 profit in NZ as cheap oil cuts fuel bill

Friday 30th September 2016

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The New Zealand branch of Singapore Airlines lifted annual profit by 63 percent as cheap jet fuel helped the airline fatten margins while reaping smaller passenger revenues. 

Net profit rose to $7.9 million in the 12 months ended March 31, from $4.8 million a year earlier, Singapore Airlines NZ's financial statements lodged with the Companies Office show. Revenue, which is almost entirely attributable to passengers, dropped 12 percent to $175.8 million, while expenditure fell 14 percent to $168 million.

The NZ company's fuel bill dropped 25 percent in 2016 to $53.6 million as the price of crude oil fell, reaching 12-year lows in February. A global glut of oil, driven by increased supply from the US, Canada, Iraq and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and slower demand from China drove the price of crude 75 percent down from its levels of mid-2014. 

OPEC talks at the time failed to come up with a deal to stem the overproduction, though members this week agreed to cut output, with a formal meeting to set production limits held in November.

Earlier this year, Singapore Airlines announced the first direct flight from Wellington to Canberra and then on to Singapore with its Capital Express Route, with the first plane landing in New Zealand's capital last week. Wellington City Council has come under fire for subsidies extended to  Singapore Airlines to operate the route.

A document released this week suggests the subsidy could be worth $800,000 per year over 10 years, the Dominion Post has reported. The council's chief executive, Kevin Lavery, has refused to quantify the subsidy, citing commercial sensitivity. The subsidy comes from the council's tourism fund, "Destination Wellington", which has $1.8 million to spend each year.

The accounts show Singapore Airlines cut "other operating expenses" in New Zealand such as depreciation, handling charges, aircraft rentals, parking charges and the cost of in-flight meals to $89.8 million from $95 million in 2015. The airline's landing, parking and over-flying charges shrank to $8.8 million from $9.5 million. 

Singapore Airlines doesn't pay income tax in New Zealand under the 2009 Double Taxation Agreement between the New Zealand and Singaporean governments.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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