Fiji Airways has posted a double-digit increase in first half profit despite pressure on its Australian routes.
The airline group, which covers Fiji Airways, Fiji Link and other subsidiaries, reported operating profit of FJ$17.5 million for the six months to June 30 2015, up 16.5 per cent from FJ$15.4 million in the prior corresponding period and the highest half-year result in the company’s history.
Fiji Airways acting chief executive David Bowden said the performance of the international network – the airline flies to Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, United States and Hong Kong from its Nadi hub – had held up well despite some difficulties its largest market, Australia.
“The growth of our Hong Kong service to China clearly shows the diversity and resilience within the group to deliver strong results despite economic and market pressures within our core Australian market,” Bowden said in a statement.
“Our results are also sustainable with any fuel price upsides realised being largely off-set by foreign currency exposures on aircraft US dollar-based loans and AUD dollar revenue streams, exceptional costs and investments in building long term capability. These exceptional costs related to the A330 damaged in Nadi on 16th May 2015.”
The airline added two new routes in the first half of calendar 2015, launching service between Nadi and Wellington and as well as starting the Nuku’alofa-Vava’u route. Overall passenger numbers rose 6.7 per cent in the first half.
And international growth is set to continue when the airline picks up a fourth Airbus A330 in December that will be used to launch a new long-haul route.
Bowden said the airline would be keeping a close watch on currency movements and the price of fuel during the second half.
“It is important to acknowledge the exceptional performance contributed by all our staff but we must be mindful that the second half of the year will be challenging if we are to meet our expectations for the full financial year,” Bowden said.
“However, the team is definitely up to the task.”
Meanwhile, Bowden said Fiji Link’s regional and domestic network performed in line with its five-year plan.
Qantas, which places its QF airline code on Fiji Airways’ flights between Australia and Fiji, owns 46 per cent of the airline.
Fiji Airways’ new chief executive Andre Viljoen, who was appointed in June after running Air Mauritius since 2010, will start with the airline in October.