Air New Zealand to begin layoffs due to impact of coronavirus

Air New Zealand has announced it will start the process of laying off up to 3,500 workers in light of the loss of NZD 5 billion (USD 3 billion) in revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the company said.

The company announced to staff that the COVID-19 has taken revenue of NZD 5.8 billion to less than NZD 500m annually, based on current booking patterns.

Under New Zealand´s current Level 4 lockdown, domestic travel is limited to essential workers. All others have been told remain home, except for essential shopping and medical care.

The company said most countries will take a cautious approach to allowing international tourism in the next year, and international tourism makes up two thirds of Air New Zealand´s revenue.

Air New Zealand has cut 95% of its flights as it battles the crisis and has agreed a standby loan from the government of up to NZD 900 million.

Its current focus is on international cargo flights and domestic flights for essential workers, although many of those are operating at low loads and have been cancelled or consolidated, according to posts on social media by chief revenue officer Cam Wallace.

The carrier will start job cuts within its 12,500-strong workforce, commencing with staff in international regions. Local job cuts will follow once a final plan has been agreed in the coming days.