Air New Zealand Ltd expects to reach 75% of its pre-COVID-19 international capacity and more than 100% of pre-pandemic domestic capacity by the end of 2022, as travel demand recovers, its Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said on Monday.
The New Zealand national carrier is operating at 50% of international and nearly 100% of pre-pandemic domestic capacity, Foran told Reuters on the sidelines of an airline industry gathering in Doha.
"At this stage, there's some pent up demand that we've seen. People wanting to not just visit friends and relatives, but increasingly business people want to get out and be connected. So I'm very encouraged by that," he said.
"But I am cautious about what may happen should the price of fuel continue to stay over double what it was pre-COVID."
Air New Zealand is managing to cover increased fuel costs through fares that are averaging around 20% to 25% higher than pre-pandemic levels, Foran said, though that could change if fuel prices rise again.
Australian rival Qantas Airways Ltd said on Sunday that it might need to reduce domestic capacity further to help recover rising fuel costs, but Foran said there were not yet any plans to do that at Air New Zealand.
Earlier this month, Air New Zealand said its loss in the 12 months ending June 30 would be narrower than previously forecast due to a rebound in passenger demand as restrictions eased.
Foran said it was too early to say whether the airline would return to a profit in the financial year starting July 1.
"We're not putting out any guidance at this point," he said. (Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Rashmi Aich)