Flight Centre NZ to close 23 more stores, cut 160 jobs

The decision was made in an effort to save the company.
The decision was made in an effort to save the company. Photo credit: Getty.

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to take its toll on the travel industry with Flight Centre announcing the closure of a further 23 stores, resulting in the loss of 160 jobs.

Earlier this year the company closed dozens of stores and cut hundreds of jobs due to the pandemic.

David Coombes, the Managing Director of Flight Centre NZ confirmed the closure in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

"Due to the impact of COVID-19 and resulting border restrictions we have made the incredibly difficult decision to restructure our business and in doing so, reduce a further 160 roles within Flight Centre NZ along with closing 23 stores," Coombes said.

The restructure will be mostly within the company's retail arm, given the lack of sales in-store.

"Our people were offered, and a number accepted, voluntary redundancy. These people will also be able to access the government's COVID relief payment, and those who wished to stay on in our business have been offered a role."

Coombes said the company was gutted to again be reducing its team and farewelling a large number of people from its business. 

"Our people are at the core of who we are, so this is of course, heartbreaking," he said.

"What may come to mind is 'can Flight Centre survive this?'. The answer is unequivocally, yes. These decisions, however difficult, are made to do just that so we can continue to support our customers through the impact of COVID-19. 

"As borders remain closed we have been forced to make this difficult decision to ensure our business stays viable, protecting our customers' refunds and credits, and then opening up the world for Kiwis as border restrictions lift." 

Earlier this year, Flight Centre launched Project Remedy, a programme set up to help find jobs for those in the travel industry who are looking for work due to COVID-19.