AN increase in passenger numbers and additional revenue for Fiji's national airline have resulted in a group profit after tax of $14.5million.
Air Pacific Limited, trading as Fiji Airways, board of directors chairman Nalin Patel made the announcement yesterday, adding the financial results were for the nine-month period ending December 31, 2013 — a stub financial year for the airline — and was compared with $17.8m from the preceding 12-month period.
"The nine months performance was driven by an increase in passenger numbers by 2.5 per cent with an additional revenue of 1 per cent, hence a slight yield decrease of negative 1.5 per cent due to the relentless competitive environment, especially from and to the US and Australia," Mr Patel said.
He said the group reported an operating profit before income tax of $14.2m for the nine-month period compared with an operating profit before income tax of $22.4m for the preceding 12-month financial period.
"Last year was a major transition year for Fiji Airways. We rebranded to Fiji Airways in a nod to our heritage and our home. The new brand continues to win awards and accolades for us," he said.
"We changed over from our long-serving B747 aircraft to the more efficient A330 wide-body aircraft. The transition alone accounted for more than $14m one-time transition expenses in the financial year 2013.
"Our finance cost increased by $33.6m as we added these new aircraft to our Fiji Airways fleet."
He said the group, which comprises Fiji Airways, Pacific Sun and a 38.75 per cent stake in Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau Island, changed its financial year to reflect the calendar year following a board decision.
He said the previous financial year was from April 1 to March 31, 2013.