Coronavirus: Flight Centre closing 58 New Zealand stores

Coronavirus: Flight Centre closing 58 New Zealand stores
Photo credit: Getty Images

Flight Centre has announced it is closing 58 New Zealand stores and standing down 300 employees across the country.

The closures are currently intended to be temporary. 

"Today, we made the incredibly difficult decisions to do what many other companies have already done by standing down over 300 of our people, and closing 58 of our retail stores across the country," Flight Centre NZ managing director David Coombes said in a statement on Wednesday. 

He says the travel restrictions that have been imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19, which have forced airlines to stop flying, have meant the company has been unable to perform the "overwhelming majority" of tasks they do.

"People are the heart and soul of our company and we are gutted that it has come to this. Our people who are stepping down remain a very important part of our whanau, and of our future - we will welcome them back with open arms when restrictions are lifted and demand for travel starts to improve," Coombes says.

He added that they don't want to adversely impact their corporate and leisure customers, and they are working to help people rearrange their future travel plans and repatriate travellers who are stranded overseas.

Coombes also said that Flight Centre had secured A$900 million (NZ$926 million) in funding to help serve customers after the COVID-19 crisis.

"While this is not a 'cure-all', it does ensure that Flight Centre New Zealand is financially secure and well-positioned to rebound."