Coronavirus: Air New Zealand not ruling out asking Government for more than the $900 million loan

Air New Zealand's CEO isn't ruling out asking for more than the $900 million Government loan already offered to help it survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

Greg Foran spoke to media on Friday, hours after Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced the 24-month loan facility, which comes with interest rates expected to be between 7 and 9 percent per annum.

When asked if it turns out that loan isn't enough, Foran wouldn't say the company won't want more help from the taxpayer.

"I don't want to speculate on how long this goes on. We're using the best information that we have at hand and I believe this puts us in a very good position over the next several months," Foran said.

He said how long that loan will keep the airline running for is based on "loose assumptions". 

But he was emphatic about one thing - the sum being offered in the loan facility is what the airline requested.

"We asked for $900 million and that's exactly what we got," Foran said.

"As we've gone through our forecast and worked that out, $900 million is the right number for us. I can't speculate more than anyone else on how long this will go and the impact, but based on our best forecast we're very happy with that number."

The Government is a 52 percent stakeholder in Air NZ.

Air New Zealand share price January - March, 2020.
Photo credit: Newshub.

Earlier today it was revealed the airline is cancelling an upcoming dividend payment to shareholders announced in late February and the terms of the loan mean it won't be paying shareholders anything for up to two years.

After the NZX opened on Friday at 10am, Air NZ's shares dropped by more than 40 percent to trade at 87c, despite the loan announcement, but bounced back up to $1.10 following Foran's media briefing.

In early January, Air NZ's share price was $3.05.