Air New Zealand’s chief executive has predicted that the airline’s yields per passenger would not improve until the end of next year – at the earliest, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Rob Fyfe said although passenger demand had recovered slightly – reflected by improved forward bookings – average fares paid per passenger, or yields, remained weak.
The carrier’s bookings have grown on a year-on-year basis over the past several months, Fyfe told reporters at the Greener Skies 2009 conference in Hong Kong.
He added that Air New Zealand had no plans to cut long-haul capacity any further, which it has already trimmed by 9%.
Fyfe said: “I’m not strongly optimistic, in that we don’t expect to see any improvement in yield until the end of 2010.
“We might see some gradual improvement in yields, but it will take a long time for the industry to reabsorb the parked capacity.”
In August Air NZ reported net profit in the 12 months ending June 30 fell to NZ$118 million from NZ$146 million a year earlier, due to the financial crisis.
The situation echoes that of fellow Antipodean carrier Qantas which saw profits plummet by 88% to £62.4 million.
Qantas chairman Leigh Clifford said last month that the global outlook “remains uncertain” and the airline had failed to see “any significant improvement in business conditions”.
Fyfe added Air New Zealand has a strong balance sheet and is on the lookout for acquisition opportunities that could extend its core businesses.
“Our focus is pretty much New Zealand…We don’t see ourselves as necessarily having aspirations of being a big global player,” Fyfe said.