Air New Zealand's after-tax net profit of $338 million puts the airline in a powerful position to continue on its strong growth track.

More places to fly

This means opening up new routes and increasing capacity on existing ones. The airline will fly to Vietnam from the middle of the year over winter and within the next two months plans to announce another Pacific Rim destination. The Philippines has been touted as an option but the airline was quiet on options today. Capacity has increased 16 per cent in the past six months and will increase by about 7 per cent for the remainder of the year.

Cheaper flying

Falling fuel prices has been a major driver of results for airlines around the world and Air New Zealand is no exception. This allows all airlines to hold or drop fares and again, Air New Zealand is in that game. It is promoting its 300,000 fares below $50 this year and chief executive Christopher Luxon said today the airline would remain "incredibly competitive" on fares without getting specific on numbers.

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Air New Zealand profits soar 154pc to $338m

Nice new planes

Highly profitable airlines can invest in fleet and new planes are always nicer than old ones. During the last six months Air New Zeaand took delivery three Boeing 787-9 aircraft which are now flying on Asian and Pacific routes and within the next year will start getting get new A320 planes and has announced the purchase of 15ATR-600 planes for its regional routes where it has a fight with Jetstar.

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New lounges

Air New Zealand profits are also being invested in airport lounges. Its new Sydney and Auckland lounges opened last year.

Bigger dividends

Most passengers are directly or indirectly shareholders. The airline announced a 10c interim dividend, well up on last year and will pay out about $107 million. Half of that goes to the government through its shareholding in the airline.