NZ border reopening 'a big day for us' - Air NZ CEO

Nicole Bremner
Source: 1News

It’s more than 700 days since the Covid-19 pandemic completely changed the way Air New Zealand was operating.

Now, the national carrier is looking to upcoming border changes to build momentum towards its rebuild.

At midnight on Sunday, a further loosening of border restrictions will see vaccinated passengers from more than 40 approved countries and territories allowed into New Zealand.

More than 1000 passengers will arrive on three Air New Zealand flights tomorrow.

Chief executive Greg Foran says the reopening is "a big day for us".

The airline has rehired 800 staff and is now planning for a gradual increase in passengers between now and the July school holidays.

It’s positive news for pilots too.

“All up we lost around 700 pilots - 350 from Air New Zealand and around 150 from the rest of the industry,” Andrew Ridling, the president of the Airline Pilots’ Association, said.

READ MORE: Border reopens to international visitors at midnight Sunday

ALPA is expecting around 90% of the pilots will return to work at the national carrier.

Like many international airlines, Air New Zealand is being buffeted by global fuel prices and ongoing uncertainty around Covid-19.

However, the widening of Aotearoa’s borders is a positive step for many businesses who have been struggling financially during the pandemic.