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Air New Zealand pauses ticket sales, cuts flights

Air New Zealand is further reducing capacity across its network as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on travel demand.

The airline placed itself into a trading halt today to allow it time to more fully assess the operational and financial impacts of global travel restrictions.

On its long-haul network, Air New Zealand will be reducing its capacity by 85 per cent over the coming months and will operate a minimal schedule to allow Kiwis to return home and to keep trade corridors with Asia and North America open.

Full details of this schedule will be advised in the coming days.

Among the network capacity reductions, the airline can advise it is suspending flights between Auckland and Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Tokyo Narita, Honolulu, Denpasar and Taipei from March 30th until the end of June.

The Tasman and Pacific Island network capacity will significantly reduce between April and June.

Details of these schedule changes will be announced later this week.

On the Domestic network, capacity will be reduced by around 30 per cent in April and May but no routes will be suspended.

Customers are advised that due to the unprecedented level of schedule changes they should not contact the airline unless they are due to fly within the next 48 hours or need immediate repatriation to New Zealand or their home country.

Air New Zealand chief executive, Greg Foran, said that while airlines face an unprecedented challenge, Air New Zealand is better placed than most to navigate its way through it.

“The resilience of our people is exceptional, and I am consistently amazed by their dedication and passion for our customers,” he said.

“We are a nimble airline with a lean cost base, strong balance sheet, good cash reserves, an outstanding brand and a team going above and beyond every day.

“We also have supportive partners.

“We are also in discussions with the government at this time.”

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.”

Foran added the airline is working constructively with the heads of the four main unions representing more than 8,000 of its workforce to ensure the right outcome for all staff.

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