Air NZ interim profit soars

Air New Zealand has announced a huge improvement in half-year net profit to $100 million, up from $38m at the same time last year.

Excluding gains and losses from hedge exposures, the national carrier reported a 300 per cent improvement in normalised earnings before taxation to $139m for the six months to December, up from $33m the previous year.

It is its best half-year result in five years.

Operating revenue was up 3.4 per cent to to $2.4 billion.

The key drivers of the result were the rise in operating revenue, capacity growth across its network, improved international long haul yields, cost containment, and profit improvement initiatives running ahead of expectations, the airline said.

Chairman John Palmer described the result as excellent progress when put against the backdrop of a sluggish economic recovery and ongoing challenges facing the airline industry.

"The substantial change programme the airline has been implementing has positioned the business for consistent growth and sustainable profitability over the coming years," he said.

The board has declared a fully imputed interim dividend of 3.0 cents per share, an increase of 50 per cent on the previous corresponding period.