Air New Zealand is gearing up for its busiest July in two years, relaunching 14 international routes in 16 days.
With these routes back in action, the airline will be operating 60 per cent of its international capacity - the most international flying in the last two years.
From July 9, the airline will have three-quarters of its international and domestic routes back up and running with destinations like Honolulu, Houston and Tahiti restarting after around 820 days of not operating.
The airline is bringing back some Boeing 777-300 aircraft to bolster capacity on its network which has been under pressure from high demand, especially on the Tasman.
Chief executive Greg Foran said the airline was seeing first hand how keen people are to travel again.
"Come July, we will double our services across the Tasman and restart popular direct services like the Sunshine Coast, Hobart and Adelaide. By July 9 we will be back to all nine Australian ports which is an important milestone for us."
To bring one Boeing 777-300 out of storage in Auckland takes around six to eight weeks.
The airline has hired or rehired more than 2000 Air New Zealand staff across the business including 150 pilots, more than 500 cabin crew, and 270 airport employees.
Air NZ's domestic operations have supported the business during the pandemic. Photo / Grant Bradley
Another 1100 vacancies are to be filled.
RNZ today reported Air New Zealand has resorted to offering cash incentives of up to $1400 to entice people to work for the airline. The airline has had to urgently recruit call centre staff after lengthy wait times for customers.
Foran said it was no easy feat to get the airline back to where it was.
The airline had about 12,500 staff before the pandemic hit and it shed about a third of its workers.
"Getting aircraft out of storage, people back in, opening ports, and working with new travel requirements, there's a lot to consider, and the Air New Zealand team are doing their very best to make it happen as quickly as possible," said Foran.