Air New Zealand is expected to hold an up-beat annual meeting in Auckland this afternoon as the national carrier flies high on the back of low fuel costs and robust tourist arrivals.

The airline reported a record full-year result in August, with net profit rising 24 per cent to $327 million.

Air New Zealand is putting on more seats across its network as it flies to new long-haul destinations and uses bigger aircraft on domestic routes.

But it is also facing increased competition in New Zealand from Jetstar, which is expanding its regional presence in this country, and other small airlines.


The airline is also facing the possibility of more competition across the Pacific as American Airlines investigates the viability of direct Auckland-United States flights.

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Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners, said Air New Zealand was in the best shape it had ever been in.

"There's been some pretty big capacity increases that they've put through and so far they've filled those, which is a great outcome," he said.

"There's a lot of things that have just gone their way, in terms of fuel prices, tourism trends and the domestic economy. But they've also made some great progress themselves among the things they can control in terms of fine-tuning routes and making sure they've got capacity where they need it, improving the fleet and doing what they can about competition."

Air New Zealand will launch new routes to Houston and Buenos Aires in December.

In August chief executive Christopher Luxon said the carrier had a team assessing potential "new opportunities" in Australia, Asia and the Americas.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon at the new Air New Zealand International Lounge at Auckland Internatioal Airport. Photo / Dean Purcell
Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon at the new Air New Zealand International Lounge at Auckland Internatioal Airport. Photo / Dean Purcell

Lister said the airline was defying the negativity around the outlook for the global economy.


"Our house view is that oil prices aren't going to rebound over the next year or two - that they're just going to languish at current levels," he said. "If we're right about that then Air New Zealand is pretty well-placed."

Air New Zealand copped some bad press over the weekend when its chairman, Tony Carter, was among around 80 passengers who had to spend the night in Hong Kong airport after an engineering failure and a passing typhoon caused a major delay on a flight to Auckland.

Accommodation in Hong Kong could not be found for all of the passengers.

The flight arrived in Auckland on Monday morning, 19 hours late.
Lister said the delayed flight could come up at the meeting, but such delays were part and parcel with running an airline.

"Obviously it's a negative from a PR point of view for Air New Zealand, but there's probably not much they could have done differently," he said.

"Those things happen and I'm sure it will be long forgotten in six months' time."

Air New Zealand shares, which have gained 35 per cent in the past 12 months, recently traded at $2.49.