Air New Zealand halted trading today as it announced capacity cuts across its global network due to the impact of COVID-19 on travel demand.
The airline’s long-haul travel network capacity will be reduced by 85% over the coming months.
It announced it is suspending flights between Auckland and Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Tokyo Narita, Honolulu, Denpasar and Taipei from 30 March to 30 June.
It is also suspending its London–Los Angeles service from 20 March (ex LAX) and 21 March (ex LHR) through to 30 June.
Air New Zealand stated that it will operate a minimal schedule to allow Kiwis to return home and to keep the trade corridors open with Asia and North America. “Full details of this schedule will be advised in the coming days.”
The Pacific Island and Tasman network capacity will also be significantly reduced between April and June. “Details of schedule changes will be announced later this week.”
Air New Zealand stated that it halted trading today to give it time to fully assess operational and financial impacts.
Meanwhile, the airline has been inundated with calls. In a video circulated to customers, Air New Zealand Senior Manager Customer Care and Communications, Doug Grant, urged customers not to contact them unless they are due to fly within the next 48 hours or need immediate repatriation to New Zealand or their home country.
The reduction in flights will affect the airline’s 8,000 employees, with its Board of Directors taking a 15 percent pay cut until the end of this calendar year.
Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says that while airlines face an unprecedented challenge, Air New Zealand is better placed than most to navigate its way through it.
“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.
“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”.
“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 New Zealand is also offering fare flexibility to customers affected by the New Zealand government’s imposed COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Customers with international flights due to depart up until 31 March 2020 will be eligible to:
- Hold the value of their fare in credit for twelve months from the time of ticket purchase;
- Receive a refund; or
- Amend the date of their flight without change fees. The normal fare difference will apply.
Full details can be found on Air New Zealand’s Travel Alerts page.