Coronavirus: Air New Zealand planning to make 387 pilots redundant, says union

The cuts are part of the airline's efforts to survive the coronavirus crisis.
The cuts are part of the airline's efforts to survive the coronavirus crisis. Photo credit: Newshub.

The jobs of nearly 400 Air New Zealand pilots are on the line as the airline tries to survive the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The NZ Airline Pilots Association (NZALPA) met with the airline's CEO Greg Foran and executive team on Monday to discuss cost-cutting measures being planned to help the airline through the COVID-19 crisis. 

NZALPA says it was told by Air NZ of its intention to make 387 pilots redundant as "the most economically efficient surplus resulting from the proposed Air NZ flight schedule".

"If we cannot save every job, NZALPA would fight to ensure there is a clear and transparent path back to Air NZ for all pilots who chose to return," the union added.

The association also insists that 387 will not be the final number of pilots being made redundant and is undertaking thorough consultation, as required under the employment relations act.

Air NZ confirmed it has begun consulting with staff to reduce the size of its workforce by up to 3500 roles. 

"We started the consultation process with our staff yesterday to reduce the size of our workforce by up to 3500 roles," the airline told Newshub.

"It's expected Air NZ will be a much smaller airline for some time even beyond the initial impact of COVID-19. The airline, pre-COVID-19, employed 12,500 people around the world and it's expected that even in a year's time it will be at least 30 percent smaller than it is today.

"We understand that this is a very difficult time for many Air New Zealanders."

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