Air New Zealand has triggered a self-imposed trading halt from Monday to allow itself “more time to more fully assess the operational and financial impacts of global travel restrictions”.
It does not state when this will be lifted.
The airline says in the same statement: “As a result of the downturn in travel Air New Zealand continues to review its cost base and will need to start the process of redundancies for permanent positions[,] acknowledging the important role partnering with unions has in this process.”
Chief executive Greg Foran says: “We are now accepting that for the coming months at least Air New Zealand will be a smaller airline requiring fewer resources, including people.
“We have deployed a range of measures, such as leave without pay and asking those with excess leave to take it, but these only go so far. We are working on redeployment opportunities for some of our staff within the airline and also to support other organisations.”
Foran adds that the airline is “working constructively” with the four main unions representing more than 8,000 of its workforce “to ensure the right outcome for all staff”. These are E tu, AMEA, NZALPA and Federation of Air New Zealand Pilots.
“These are unprecedented times that we are all having to navigate. And it is clear that if we don’t take all the appropriate measures to lower costs and to drive revenue, our airline won’t be in the best position to accelerate forward once we are through the worst of the impact of Covid-19.”
Air NZ will also make further cuts to its long-haul network, amounting to an 85% reduction over the coming months. During this time, it will operate “a minimal schedule to allow Kiwis to return home and to keep trade corridors with Asia and North America open”.
The carrier is suspending its London-Los Angeles service from 20 March, and starting 30 March, flights from Auckland to Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Tokyo Narita, Honolulu, Denpasar, and Taipei. These changes are in place through to 30 June.
On the domestic front, Air NZ will not suspend any routes but capacity will be reduced by around 30% in April and May.