Air New Zealand Set To Let Go Of 385 Cabin Crew

Air New Zealand is set to let go of 385 more cabin crew by December, a report says today. The airline said only last month that it had no plans for more redundancies. But a slow down in the recovery of air travel and a fall in demand for the airline’s American routes has prompted the further round of job cuts.

Air New Zealand to cut 385 jobs. Photo: Getty Images.

Air New Zealand cuts more jobs

A report in the New Zealand Herald has revealed that flag carrier Air New Zealand is planning to cut around 385 jobs by the end of the year. The airline has already lost more than 4,000 of its workforce since travel restrictions were imposed in March. Around 900 of those were mid- to long-haul crew, as international travel came to a standstill.

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At the end of August, Air New Zealand Chief Executive, Greg Foran, told the Herald that the airline had no plans to lay off any more staff. However, an internal memo sent to staff said that the airline currently has more workers than it has work for. Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Carrie Hurihanganui confirmed the proposal, blaming a fall in demand on North American routes.

She said that the carrier has cut its flights to Los Angeles from a daily service to three flights a week and changed all flights to San Francisco to cargo-only operations. She added that, while redundancies were a last resort, the airline recognizes that the reduced schedule requires fewer cabin crew, and they are working through what it means for the staff. Ms. Hurihanganui said,

“We appreciate that our cabin crew have already made significant sacrifices throughout COVID-19, but sadly our international schedule remains largely limited by border restrictions, and unfortunately, there is not enough flying to provide sustainable rosters for the number of crew we have.”

Air New Zealand
Union leader hits out at job cuts as the airline continues outsourcing. Photo: Getty Images

Union hits out at job cuts

Air New Zealand has said that any decision on redundancies would be made in consultation with staff and unions. However, union E tū has hit out at the proposed redundancies and criticized the airline’s continued outsourcing. Savage, E tū’s head of aviation, said that crew could see the damage being done to the industry by COVID-19. But the airline has no operational reason for retaining a crew base in Shanghai. He said,

“The Shanghai base has always been about paying crew less and devaluing the role of cabin crew. Outsourcing is a barrier to raising standards in aviation, and it needs to end. When the work comes back, it needs to come back to Auckland-based cabin crew.”

Air New Zealand 777
Air New Zealand’s 777s to be grounded for at least a year. Photo: Getty Images

Air New Zealand’s first loss in years

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, Air New Zealand, which turned 80 years old this year, recorded its first loss in 18 years. Despite turning a profit of $133.5 million (NZ$198m) in the first six months of the financial year, the airline reported a net loss of $58.7m (NZ$87m).

The national carrier announced last week that it won’t be operating its fleet of Boeing 777s for at least a year and maybe even longer. As part of its ongoing cost-cutting measures, the airline plans to sublet up to a quarter of the office space at its Auckland headquarters.

How do you feel about Air New Zealand cutting jobs while it is still outsourcing?