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Air NZ passenger numbers rise in May

Wednesday 20th June 2012

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Air New Zealand's long-haul passenger numbers rose 4.8 percent in May, led by increase in the number of kiwis departing for Asia and Australia.

The airline, slated for government selldown, carried 910,000 passengers in May, up 2 percent from a year earlier, it said in a statement. Long-haul passengers increased to 103,000 from 98,000, while domestic traffic crept up 1.7 percent to 807,000.

Passengers carried on the Asia, Japan and the UK routes increased by 10.8 percent to 41,000, followed by Australia and the Pacific, up 5.9 percent to 195,000.

Air New Zealand named Christopher Luxon as its new chief executive yesterday. Luxon is currently the airline’s general manager for international and will replace Rob Fyfe at the end of the year.

Luxon sees profit in kiwis heading to the US as the airliner targets a $110 million lift in earnings from its long-haul services by 2015. In February, the airline announced it was looking to explore opportunities in South America, Asia and North America, while deepening its Chinese network.

"North America has experienced huge growth in the last 12-months - our projections see huge growth," Luxon said in a conference call. "It's just how we are going to access it."

Passengers travelling to North America and UK rose 1.1 percent to 62,000 in May.

Earlier this week the airline commenced its first non-stop flight to Bali. The seasonal service will operate two direct flights a week until October.

Shares in Air New Zealand are currently trading at 86.5 cents.

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