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Air NZ blames school holiday re-jig for lower September passenger numbers

Tuesday 25th October 2011

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Air New Zealand blames the shifting of the school holidays till October as a reason for a 6.5 percent decrease in domestic passengers during September compared to the same month a year ago.

The airline carried 771,000 passengers around New Zealand last month, down from 825,000 in the same months of 2010.

“We have also seen generally lower levels of domestic travel due to perceived infrastructure constraints associated with the Rugby World Cup,” it said in a statement. The company’s influx of international visitors to New Zealand for the RWC was in line with expectations.

Air NZ’s total passenger numbers fell 4.8 percent to 1,210,000 passengers, while revenue passenger kilometres decreased 5.2 percent and the group load factor fell 5.4 percents.

However, group-wide yields for the financial year to date are up 5.7 percent on the same period last year, made up of an increase in short haul yields of 3.1 percent and long haul yields lifting 5.5 percent. The company said that removing the impact of foreign exchange movements, group yields were up 7.3 percent.

The Christchurch earthquakes continue to affect Air NZ’s Asia/Japan/UK routes, with demand down 11.8 percent on last year to 84 percent. The airline says in September, over 90 percent of its domestic flights departed within 10 minutes of schedule departure times.

Air New Zealand’s decrease in domestic passenger numbers is reflected in Auckland Airport’s announcement that its September throughput of national passengers was down 5.9 percent to 494,000.

Auckland Airport saw a 700 percent increase in the number of visiting French people during September, as over 8,000 arrived for the RWC.

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