Should Qantas management somehow try and tell investors that the boom in the airline’s business is confined to Qantas for temporary reasons and that worse times are just around the corner?

That’s what they did on Tuesday with an update of the airline’s performance for February and the finincial year to date as of February 2007.

So what are we to make of what’s happening at Air New Zealand, Qantas’s rival in this part of the world, especially across the Tasman and in New Zealand? Well, things, are, well, booming, as the update for March reveals.

Air New Zealand said it carried more passengers than expected in March and forward bookings for the three months to the end of June are better than previously expected. (Qantas doesn’t give that sort of forward look at business).

Air New Zealand said passenger numbers in March rose 8.3% from March 2006 and the load factor was 79.5% of available seats in the month, which is not as good as Qantas was in February at just over 80%.

Air New Zealand shares have jumped 70 per cent over the past six months: on that basis Qantas shares would be around $6 or more compared to the offer price of $5.45.

Air New Zealand said passenger yields, or revenue per passenger carried, rose 10.1% in the nine months to 31 March compared to the first nine months of the 2006 financial year.

So Qantas is not doing as well in the nine months as Air New Zealand.

Get more Crikey, for less

It’s more than a newsletter. It’s where readers expect more – fearless journalism from a truly independent perspective. We don’t pander to anyone’s party biases. We question everything, explore the uncomfortable and dig deeper.

Join us this week for 50% off a year of Crikey.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
50% off