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Air New Zealand Reports $158M Loss

March 7, 2002

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) _ National carrier Air New Zealand reported a half-year loss of more than $158 million Thursday but said it should be profitable within two years.

The national carrier managed a $1.6 million in profit for the same period the previous year.

The government pumped $372 million into the ailing airline late last year and now owns an 82-percent stake.

The bulk of the six-month loss came from booking $147 million of costs from the collapse last year of its subsidiary, Ansett Australia.

Air New Zealand said its half-year pretax loss from continuing operations was $37 million.

Passenger revenue dropped 9.2 percent from a year earlier to $638 million, cargo revenue was down 7.9 percent to $61.7 million.

Newly appointed airline Chief Executive Ralph Norris said the six months of operations to Dec. 31 had been very challenging.

The Sept. 11 terror attacks and generally weak global economic conditions have reduced high-yield business traffic, placing substantial pressure on industry profitability, he added.

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