Coronavirus: Flight Centre NZ cuts staff by 250 and shuts 33 shops to temporarily

Coronavirus makes 250 Flight Centre NZ staff redundant.
Photo credit: Getty

Flight Centre NZ announced on Monday it is making around 250 staff members redundant and temporarily closing 33 stores due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This decision wasn't taken lightly and it was one that we hoped to avoid, we do not want to see these great people leave our company," Flight Centre NZ managing director David Coombes said.

"We took every possible step to save these roles but, in the end, we were left with no choice."

The job losses primarily affect those staff who joined Flight Centre NZ under a year ago, the company says, adding that all contractual obligations will be met and those impacted will finish with the company on Monday. 

The announcement follows the closure of 100 stores in Australia last week.

Flight Centre is calling on the Government to step in and provide more assistance to preserve jobs long-term.

"Our core product - international travel - has effectively been taken from the shelves in the short-term and, while we anticipate a strong rebound in time, it is impossible to predict the timeframe for recovery," Coombes said.

"While outbound travel has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19, travel agents have been overlooked in the government support packages announced to date, leaving the industry fighting to save more than 5000 employees.

"We have had to take immediate and drastic action and I fear further tough calls will be needed if we do not get urgent Government support."

When the market recovers, those people who have lost their jobs at the company will be offered them before anyone else, Coombes added. 

Flight Centre NZ employed 1200 Kiwis and operated over 140 retail stores before the announced cutbacks.