Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Flight Centre NZ sales top $1 billion

Growing numbers of Kiwis are travelling to destinations such as Hawaii and boosting sales for travel agent Flight Centre.
Growing numbers of Kiwis are travelling to destinations such as Hawaii and boosting sales for travel agent Flight Centre.

Flight Centre's turnover in New Zealand has cracked the $1 billion mark although the company faces a turbulent year elsewhere amid soft demand in Britain and the US because of the fallout from the Brexit vote and worries about the Zika virus.

The Australian-based company said trading conditions remained volatile in some markets after delivering a 3.8 per cent fall in annual underlying profit. Annual net profit for the year to June 30 for the group dropped 4.7 per cent to $244.6 million.

The New Zealand operation was identified as one of the company's most successful countries, with turnover exceeding A$1b ($1.04b) for the first time.

David Coombes, Flight Centre NZ managing director, said there had been increased investment in stores, staff and productivity through network upgrades during the past year.

There had been market headwinds, however, including a significant fall in air fares and the competitive retail environment.

During the past year Flight Centre NZ's online division's revenue was up 165 per cent on the previous year.

In corporate travel the company achieved record account wins and retention (including ANZ, Fletcher Building, The Warehouse and Noel Leeming), specifically within FCM Travel Solutions.

AAP reported Flight Centre said the US airline industry had been hurt by the outbreak of the Zika virus, which had led to travel warnings in key markets for US holidaymakers.

Instability in Europe following the recent terrorism attacks in Paris and Belgium had also affected US demand.

Managing director Graham Turner said it was "impossible to predict future conditions" but management could see opportunities for growth in international markets.

Turner said: "We will be disappointed if we don't improve on our FY16 performance."

- NZ Herald

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