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New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island), and numerous smaller islands, situated about 2,000 kilometres southeast of Australia across the Tasman Sea. In New Zealand there are about 9000 active pilots and 3830 aircraft. More than 8.4 million passengers travel on domestic services and 3.7 million arrive in New Zealand on international air carriers each year. The government body responsible for aviation in New Zealand is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The CAA is charged with the management of safety and security risks in New Zealand civil aviation through the implementation of efficient oversight, regulatory, and promotional action.
New Zealand’s national carrier is Air New Zealand (IATA: NZ), based at Auckland Airport. Air New Zealand operates a domestic and regional network within New Zealand and the Pacific and international services to Australia, Asia, North America and Europe.
Airports in New Zealand
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Mastery is the buzzword of choice for executives at Hawaiian Airlines as the carrier heads into 2014 aiming to drastically slow its capacity growth and turns a sharp focus on maturing a number of new long-haul markets it has rapidly introduced during the past three years.
In tandem with the slower capacity growth, Hawaiian’s capital commitments are winding down as it takes delivery of its last Airbus A330 widebody in 2015. The company expects to turn a corner that year by generating positive free cash flow to improve its financial leverage.
For management and investors alike, the slowdown and shift of focus to ensuring new routes reach profitability is likely a welcome change from the frenetic expansion Hawaiian has undertaken since 2010, when it started down a path of introducing 10 new long-haul markets that will culminate with new service from Honolulu to Beijing, scheduled to launch in Apr-2014. Hawaiian faces specific challenges in each of its long-haul geographies that it needs to overcome, but executives remain bullish that the company’s network diversification strategy will deliver favourable results over the long term.
Fiji Airways' new MD Stefan Pichler sets his sights on the next five years for the rebranded airline
Fiji Airways' new MD Stefan Pichler has begun work on the development of a five-year strategic plan which will build on the airline’s new branding and structure and seek to increase connectivity through codeshare and interline agreements to grow Fiji’s tourism industry.
With the transition from Air Pacific to Fiji Airways almost complete and the last of three A330-200s due to arrive in Nov-2013, management attention has turned to the domestic and regional Pacific Island subsidiary Pacific Sun which has also completed a restructuring over the past three years and is likely to receive a fleet upgrade to accommodate expected market growth.
Mr Pichler said in his first week in the job that Fiji Airways is in a pivotal period of growth and change. “The combination of a strong brand, new fleet of A330-200s and refurbished Boeing 737s, as well as improved schedules and services opens up an exciting new chapter for the airline”.
Qantas and Virgin Australia appear to have reached an uneasy armistice in their domestic capacity war that added nearly 8% in seat capacity in the year to 30-Jun-2013. But a stay in hostilities is likely to be temporary at best, with neither side laying down arms.
Indeed, after Qantas offered an olive branch by stating it would limit its domestic capacity increases to between 1.5% and 2% for the first half of FY2014, Virgin Australia responded the next day by declaring it would grow capacity by up to double that amount. And that does not include any increase that its newly acquired 60% subsidiary Tigerair Australia may have planned.
Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti also provocatively stated that Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, bolstered by the acquisition of Perth-based Skywest, will soon seek to break more Qantas monopoly routes, placing more pressure on fares and yields.
Virgin Australia reported a statutory loss after tax of AUD98.1 million (USD87.8 million) for the financial year to 30-Jun-2013, coming in at the lower end of its surprise profit warning issued on 05-Aug-2013, largely due to a tough competitive domestic environment, a slowing economy and large one-off restructuring and business transformation costs.
During FY2013 Virgin Australia undertook the monumental task of switching to the SabreSonic bookings system, acquired Western Australia regional carrier Skywest to expand its reach into the regional and lucrative fly-in-fly-out contract markets and took a 60% controlling stake in LCC Tigerair Australia providing the group with a dual brand strategy to match the Qantas/Jetstar model.
Two years into a five year transformation programme, Qantas sees the light at the end of the tunnel, reporting an underlying profit before tax of AUD192 million (USD172 million) for the financial year to 30-Jun-2013 against a backdrop of high fuel costs, excess domestic capacity and intense competition in its international markets.
The result, however, benefits from an AUD134 million (USD120 million) accounting estimate change relating to bringing forward accounting of passenger revenue. Without this adjustment the underlying result would have been AUD58 million (USD52 million).
But Qantas’ previously troubled international business is on the mend as the first benefits from the cornerstone alliance with Emirates begin to flow, costs are removed and loss making routes exited as well as aircraft reconfigured and alliances expanded, particularly in Asia.
CEO Alan Joyce stated: “Our financial position has been strengthened by the actions we have taken over past 12 months: reducing debt, extending our maturity profile and taking a prudent approach to capital expenditure". But Qantas has not provided profit guidance for the year ahead as the operating environment in the first half of FY2014 remains volatile.
Air New Zealand has reported underlying earnings of NZD256 million (USD200 million) for the financial year to 30-Jun-2013 and in so doing delivering on its promise to more than double profits on the prior year. The net profit after tax was NZD182 million (USD142 million), up 156% on the previous year.
The result, which is at the upper end of the guidance range provided in Jun-2013, follows up on the 300% improvement reported in the first half of FY2013 with all parts of the network contributing profitably.
Chairman John Palmer stated the result places Air New Zealand amongst the best performing airlines globally. “We are focused on further improving on this result in the 2014 financial year. Based on the airline’s forecast of market demand and fuel prices at current levels, early results and forward bookings are encouraging. Our expectation is that next year we will improve on the result that we have announced today.”