[WELLINGTON] Air New Zealand on Wednesday unveiled a record annual net profit and predicted "significant" earnings growth in the current financial year.
Chief executive Christopher Luxon said the NZ$327 million (S$298 million) result, up 24.3 per cent on the previous year, was due to strong demand, cost cutting and lower fuel prices.
He said the flag carrier had achieved "superior commercial results", posting its fourth consecutive year of growth.
"I would happily stand up against any airline in the world and say that these are an absolutely outstanding set of results," Mr Luxon told reporters.
He said Air New Zealand had a strong balance sheet, allowing it to invest in fleet upgrades and new routes, including flights to Houston and Buenos Aires beginning in December 2015.
"We're off to a good start and we feel very confident about the year ahead," he said.
Mr Luxon did not expect China's current market woes to impact on the airline, saying it was "still a relatively small part of our network".
Air New Zealand said operating revenue for the 12 months to June 30 was NZ$4.9 billion, up 5.9 per cent.
It announced a final annual dividend of 16.0 cents a share, up 60 per cent, and said 8,000 employees would each receive a NZ$1,400 bonus.
The total number of passengers carried rose 4.2 per cent, including a 9.3 per cent increase in long-haul passengers.