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Air NZ passenger numbers rise in May

Friday 18th June 2010

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Air New Zealand reported a pick-up in passenger volumes last month and an improvement in its load factor, driven by growth in domestic routes where the national carrier is planning to add capacity.

Total passengers carried climbed 3.9% to 883,000 in May from the same month of last year, while the passenger load factor, which measures how much of available capacity is being used, rose 1.9 points to 77.6%.

The airline plans to increase domestic capacity by 4.2% starting in September and is gearing up for a bumper 2011 with the Rugby World Cup, billed as the biggest event staged in New Zealand. The airline’s domestic routes are booming at the same time it is seeking approval for an alliance with Virgin Blue on the Tasman to bolster its position in the face of intense competition.

Shares of Air New Zealand, which is three-quarters owned by the government, climbed 1.7% to $1.17 today and have gained about 22% in the past 12 months, twice the pace of the NZX 50 Index.

Domestic passengers rose 6% to 597,000, while the load factor gained 4 points to 80.1%. On Tasman and Pacific routes, passenger numbers fell 1.1% to 178,000 and the load factor edged up 1.5 points to 78.3%.

Total long-haul passengers rose 1.9% to 109,000, while the load factor rose 1.6% to 76.6%. Of that, passengers to Asia, Japan and the U.K. fell 4.5% to 42,000 as the load factor dropped 2.1 points to 71.9%.

On the North American/UK routes, passengers rose 4.8% to 66,000 and the load factor climbed 4.2 points to 79.9%.

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