Strong financial results from Air New Zealand are supporting the extensive fleet spending that the carrier intends to execute in the medium term.

Air New Zealand's net profit of NZ$182 million ($143.8 million) for the year through June 30 was its highest in five years, and its third best in its history. The carrier's senior executives emphasize that this influx aids its reinvestment in the business.

The carrier revealed that it will be spending NZ$1.8 billion on its fleet in the next three years, covering new deliveries and cabin upgrades to Boeing 777-200ERs and ATR 72-500s. The deliveries over that period will include two leased 777-300ERs, six 787-9s, nine Airbus A320s and four ATR 72-600s.

The first of the 787-9s is due to be delivered in June 2014, and there will be a total of three in the fleet by the end of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. Another three deliveries are expected in the following fiscal year, and two more in the next. Air New Zealand has 10 787-9s on order, and is the launch customer for this variant.

CEO Christopher Luxon says all parts of the network are performing well, and the financial results for this fiscal year are expected to improve further. New destinations will be announced over the next year, and the carrier is also talking to prospective airline partners.

The airline has gained approval from Australian regulators to lift its shareholding in Virgin Australia by about six percentage points to 26%. Luxon says the financial results of Virgin Australia have been “disappointing,” but stresses that holding a stake in this carrier will be a long-term advantage as it gives Air New Zealand a way to tap into the quickly growing Australian domestic market.