Air New Zealand's passenger numbers rose in April as tourists continue to flood into the country, bolstered by the timing of the Easter holiday.

Auckland-based Air NZ increased passenger numbers 6.6 per cent to 1.29 million in April from the same month a year earlier and expanded its available seat kilometres or ASK 2.3 per cent to 3.18 billion, it said in a monthly investor update. Of that, domestic passenger numbers climbed 6.7 per cent to 849,000 and ASK rose 8.4 per cent to 526 million.

The airline's update shows passenger numbers have climbed 4.3 per cent to 13.4 million in the 10 months to April 30, and ASK has expanded 6.1 per cent to 35.6 billion. The April numbers were boosted by the fact that Easter fell in April this year.

Air NZ is the country's dominant carrier on domestic routes, although Qantas Airways subsidiary Jetstar has been making inroads with an expanded New Zealand offering in recent years, including joining the government's list of preferred travel suppliers for local travel.


The national carrier has also been a beneficiary of tourism numbers hitting new highs. Government data show short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.599 million in the year ended April, up 10 per cent from a year earlier and a new annual record. Visitor arrivals numbered 311,900 in the April 2017 month, up 21 per cent from April 2016.

Air NZ's long-haul passenger numbers rose 3.2 per cent in April to 153,000 and were up 4.2 per cent in the year to date at 1.71 million. Its Tasman/Pacific routes posted a 7.9 per cent increase in passenger numbers to 283,000 while year to date numbers are up 0.1 per cent to 3.02 million. However, its Asia, Japan, Singapore routes showed a 1.2 per cent fall to 61,000 in the month but are up 3.5 per cent on the year to 703,000.

Meanwhile, Auckland International Airport's monthly traffic figures published earlier this week show international passenger numbers - excluding transits - increased by 15 per cent to 861,292 in April versus the same month a year earlier. Auckland Airport's Chinese visitor arrivals were down 10 percent in April 2017 from April 2016,
Domestic passenger movements rose 4 percent to 745,287 in April. Queenstown airport, which is quarter-owned by Auckland Airport, posted a 19 percent increase in domestic passenger numbers in April to 125,825.

Air New Zealand shares fell 0.4 per cent to $2.85, while Auckland Airport stock gained 0.3 per cent to $6.91.