Air New Zealand will be 'stronger and fitter' than ever after COVID-19, says CEO

Air New Zealand's boss says the airline will be "fitter and stronger" following the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic than it was before it.

Greg Foran started in his role as the company's CEO on February 2. Earlier this week the airline announced it was cutting capacity by 85 percent and reducing its workforce by up to 30 percent.

In a video sent to media on Wednesday afternoon, Foran used upbeat language while acknowledging the current "unprecedented" and "difficult" time.

"I know we are going to emerge from this fitter and stronger than when we went in," said Foran in the video.

"Air NZ is well placed to get through COVID-19. You know, we're a strong, resilient business and we've got a good balance sheet.

"We're always thinking about what it's going to be like coming out of this. We want to make sure Air NZ emerges even fitter and stronger than what it was."

On Tuesday, the Government announced a $12.1 billion Business Continuity Package to help the country through the pandemic.

Despite $600 million of that being assigned to the aviation sector, help for Air NZ was not included - although finance minister Grant Robertson said the airline is "subject to ongoing discussions".

The Government is a 52 percent shareholder in Air NZ and has bailed it out in the past.

Despite the positive message of the new video, Foran once again confirmed the airline's 12,500 strong workforce could be reduced by up to 3750 jobs.

"I'm absolutely thrilled with the engagement right across the business, particularly with our union partners, all of them, as they're leaning in to help us come up with the right solution that could see us with an organisation that's up to 30 percent smaller over the next period," said Foran.

"We're looking at all kinds of things as we head down that path. Things like taking leave without pay, part time hours, voluntary redundancy and of course if we need to, then we'll take some redundancies as well."

Other airlines that operate in Aotearoa have also announced drastic cutbacks this week including Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Hawaiian and Virgin Australia.