Air New Zealand may cut 30% of staff as coronavirus pandemic hits travel industry hard

Source: 1News

Air New Zealand may cut up to 30 per cent of staff as the coronavirus pandemic hits the travel industry hard.

The news comes from captain Andrew Ridling, president of the New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association (NZALPA), after a meeting with Air New Zealand senior management today.

“The industry is aware that, until this unprecedented situation developed, Air New Zealand would have had forecasted annual revenue of approximately NZ$6 billion dollars.

"I would no longer be surprised if that forecast is reduced to around NZ$1 billion,” Mr Ridling says.

“The company have now advised NZALPA that, based on current modelling, Air New Zealand will be looking to reduce employee headcount across the organisation by up to 30 per cent.

"We understand this will not be a short term measure.

“Our other members are awaiting announcements from Virgin and Qantas this afternoon.”

Earlier today, Air New Zealand announced it will be grounding the vast majority of its international flights and reducing its domestic capacity, going into a trading halt during the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes after new rules forcing a 14-day self-isolation for almost all international arrivals into New Zealand.

Today, Air New Zealand announced its long-haul network is slashing its capacity by 85 per cent over the coming months, operating a "minimal schedule".

Flights will primarily be to bring Kiwis home and keep trade corridors with Asia and North America open, the airline says.

Among the flights being grounded are all trips from Auckland to Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Tokyo Narita, Honolulu, Denpasar and Taipei from March 30 to June 30, as well as its London-Los Angeles service from March 20 and 21 through to the end of June.

Domestic services will also be reduced by around 30 per cent over the coming months.

Unless people are flying within the next 48 hours or need "immediate repatriation" to New Zealand or their home countries, passengers are asked not to contact Air New Zealand for support, due to the "unprecedented level of schedule changes".