'No plans' for more Air New Zealand job cuts, says CEO Greg Foran

Air New Zealand's CEO Greg Foran says there are no plans to make further job cuts as the airline continues to navigate its way through the turbulent COVID-19 environment.

On Thursday the national carrier posted a net tax loss of $454 million, down from last year's profit of $270 million, marking its first loss in 18 years.

The company also confirmed it was planning on drawing on its $900 million dollar loan from the Government "within days".

But despite the dire financial situation, Foran says the company's remaining jobs are safe, for now.

"Like any business we will constantly review our plans, but I can tell you that at this stage there are no plans to decrease or increase the number of staff we have," Foran told The AM Show this morning.

"That may change, but right at this stage, I've got no new announcement or plans on staff."

Earlier this year Air NZ cut its staff numbers by a third - in total, more than 3000 jobs were axed.

Foran said there was no indication of how bad COVID-19 was going to impact the world as recently as January, when the airline began to look at contingency plans.

"Initially when we started to wrap our hands around COVID-19 back in January, we had views that it could be a bit like SARS or H1N1, but as it began to unfold in February and then of course March, we started to realise the scale of what we are dealing with."

As more and more flights were cancelled and staff numbers were cut, the airline was heavily criticised for its treatment of customers who were facing hours on hold to call centres, or being refused refunds.

"I want to apologise for what some of our customers have been through, in terms of the credit process, and we've made a lot of progress on that recently, especially with the changes to alert level 3 here in Auckland and alert level 2 around the rest of the country," Foran said.

"We now have a digital process in place, and I think we are doing a pretty good job now of looking after our customers."

While thanking the staff of the airline for helping it get through an incredibly tough period, Foran said it is important to remember the climate all airlines are currently operating in.

"These are difficult times, it's not often you're in a situation where you're flying at a reasonable rate, and then all of a sudden you're grounded."

But Foran was positive about how Air NZ's recovery is going.

"We are encouraged by the way the airline bounced back as we moved down from level 4 to level 1, when we got there in June. And what we saw then as well as through July and the beginning of August was a really strong domestic airline business, flying at about 70 percent of what we were pre-COVID, which exceeded our expectations."

Foran said the strong domestic market as well as the demand for cargo movement was helping the airline get back on course.

"We are doing about 50 flights with cargo all around the world, and we are seeing the reemergence of the airline," he said.

The airline had hoped to be operating flights to and from Australia and the Pacific Islands by now, but Foran understands the need to delay opening air bridges with other countries.

"Both of those things seem a little bit further away, but if we can get there and get those things happening then I think we've got ourselves a really good business."

The airline's Auckland operations will return to normal on Monday when the city returns to alert level 2.