Air New Zealand has begun the process of recalling all of its Airbus A320 cabin crew from furlough as the airline begins preparations for quarantine-free travel to Australia and Rarotonga in early 2021.
The 175 cabin crew members have been on furlough since June, having chosen to stay connected to the company rather than take redundancy.
Air NZ's general manager cabin crew Leeanne Langridge says it's "exciting" to offer the staff members their positions again.
"We know these crew are really keen to get back onboard, so it's been heartwarming to make these phone calls before Christmas," says Langridge.
"Their uniforms are all ready to be collected and I'm sure many of them can't wait to wear the koru again. These crew represent Air NZ so well and have missed being part of our customers' journey.
"We've had incredible feedback from businesses all over the country about our cabin crew who have been volunteering and working in other industries while they have been on furlough. They will now undergo comprehensive refresher training before taking to the skies again."
On Thursday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Niue's Premier Dalton Tagelagi announced an agreement had been reached between the two countries about the next steps being taken towards a quarantine-free travel bubble.
That followed announcements on Monday about Aotearoa being likely to open two-way bubbles with both Australia and the Cook Islands within the first quarter of 2021.