Airline commentator: I've never seen so many job losses

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Apr 2020, 12:22PM
Photo / File

Airline commentator: I've never seen so many job losses

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Apr 2020, 12:22PM

Air New Zealand plans to make up to 387 pilots redundant as it shrinks its operation.

New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association (NZALPA) president Andrew Ridling said the union would fight for every job.

"Yesterday NZALPA met several times with Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran and his executive team to continue our discussions on cost-cutting measures relating to the effects on the airline from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis,'' Ridling said.

"NZALPA was told by Air New Zealand that they proposed to make 387 pilots redundant as 'the most economically efficient surplus' resulting from the proposed Air New Zealand flight schedule.

The association represents 1525 of 1820 pilots employed by the airline.

Ridling said it had been working with the airline over the past three weeks, ane would continue to negotiate on getting this number reduced and finalising the agreement process.

"We have been very clear with Greg Foran and the Air New Zealand executive team from the beginning of this process: If we cannot save every job, NZALPA would fight to ensure there is a clear and transparent path back to Air New Zealand for all pilots who chose to return."

The association was adamant that 387 redundancies was not a final number.

''Now we continue the robust and thorough consultation process required under the Employment Relations Act and our specific Collective Agreement."

These cutbacks follow on from Air New Zealand's earlier announcement that it may have to cut as much of 30 per cent of its staff.

"Meanwhile, our focus has to be on these negotiations and supporting our colleagues and their families," Ridling, a Dreamliner captain, said.

Speaking to media in March, Foran said Air New Zealand has already seen an 85 per cent reduction in revenue from international flights and as much as 70 per cent on the domestic front. He said overall flight numbers had decreased from 3600 a week to under 1500.

"You can't take costs out of your business quickly enough to counter that," he said then.

The Government has given the airline access to a $900 million loan facility, but to stop the cash burn cuts are still necessary to ensure the business makes it out of coronavirus intact.

Today a spokeswoman said it had started the consultation process with staff yesterday to reduce the size of our workforce by up to 3500 roles.

''It's expected Air New Zealand will be a much smaller airline for some time even beyond the initial impact of COVID-19. The airline, pre-COVID-19, employed 12,500 people around the world and it's expected that even in a year's time it will be at least 30 per cent smaller than it is today,'' she said.

''We understand that this is a very difficult time for many Air New Zealanders.''