Union 'hugely disappointed' Virgin Australia axing New Zealand bases

The union representing aviation workers say it's "hugely disappointed" Virgin Australia is axing its New Zealand bases, leaving 600 staff without jobs.

Last week, the airline said it was looking to close its New Zealand crew bases, but was exploring redeployment options.

But on Friday night the company emailed staff telling them the bases will be closed to "safeguard our future".

An email from Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah to his staff says it was "one of the hardest decisions we've had to make".

"Unfortunately we are in a position where we must take this necessary step to safeguard our future, and while you may not agree with this outcome, I hope you can understand it," he wrote.

E tū member and flight attendant Kylie Halligan says the last three weeks "have been a complete roller coaster".

"To say I'm devastated is an understatement," she says in a statement.

"I've not only lost a job, I've lost a family. The Virgin Australia bases here in NZ were relatively small and we all knew everyone."

Another member says the company hasn't done enough to soften the blow.

"The tag line of the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be 'these are unprecedented times'," they say.

"This phrase has been used to justify some of the most disappointing behaviour that I have seen from Virgin Australia to date.

"Rather than being given kindness, support and compassion from the company which I have served for the past 12 years, they have given me anguish, stress, and uncertainty."

E tū assistant national secretary Rachel Mackintosh says that the union isn't convinced Virgin needed to close so quickly.

"The company should have applied for the wage subsidy and done more to ensure the continuity of employment and pay for their workers. We are urging all employers, in aviation and beyond, to take advantage of the government wage subsidy and not let the workers bear the full brunt of the downturn."

Scurrah says he will personally write a letter to all New Zealand crew to thank them for their service.