Air New Zealand said it carried 6.9 per cent more passengers in February than in the same month of 2010, reflecting a pick-up in volumes on domestic, trans-Tasman and Pacific flights.

The national airline carried 1.1 million passengers last month, up from 997,000 a year earlier, according to its monthly operating statistics. Revenue passenger kilometers rose 6.6 per cent and capacity, or available seat kilometers, gained 6.5 per cent.

The load factor edged up 0.1 per centage point.

Air New Zealand said last week that the combined impact of the Christchurch and Japanese earthquakes, and rising fuel costs will wipe out profit in the second half of its financial year.

The uncertain impact of natural disasters and higher costs prompted Moody's Investors Service to lower the outlook on the airline's 'Baa3' credit rating to 'negative' this week.

In February, total short-haul passenger numbers rose 7.7 per cent.

Domestic climbed 5.9 per cent to 700,000, while on Tasman and Pacific routes the volume gained 13.7 per cent to 223,000.

Long-haul passengers rose 2.1 per cent to 143,000.

On North America/UK routes the volume gained 3.7 per cent to 85,000 while numbers on Asia/Japan/UK routes fell 0.2 per cent to 58,000.

The airline's shares were unchanged yesterday at $1.10 and have dropped 26 per cent so far this year.