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Air New Zealand rehires 700 staff after axing 4k

written by Adam Thorn | March 16, 2022

An Air New Zealand 787-9, ZK-NZG, which regularly flies between Melbourne and Auckland. (Victor Pody)
An Air New Zealand 787-9, ZK-NZG, which regularly flies between Melbourne and Auckland. (Victor Pody)

Air New Zealand has revealed it’s rehired around 700 flight attendants and pilots in the last six months.

The airline said there were “more opportunities on the horizon” as international flying starts to increase with the relaxing of COVID border restrictions.

In 2020, the company cut around 4,000 jobs, or around 30 per cent of the business, in an attempt to reduce the wage bill by $150 million.

The process of cutting jobs was overseen by a head of HR, Joe McCollum, who was appointed to oversee the restructure, before leaving shortly after at the end of 2020.

Today, the airline employs roughly 8,400 people, significantly down from the around 12,000 pre-pandemic.

The news of rehiring was revealed on the day Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her nation would reopen its borders months earlier than originally set.

The country will now allow fully vaccinated Australians to enter from 11.59pm on 12 April, and visitors will not need to isolate.

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New Zealand will also welcome back fully vaccinated visitors from “visa-waiver” nations including the US, the UK, Japan, Singapore and Germany from midnight, 1 May.

Travellers will still need to present a negative COVID-19 test before departure, and two rapid antigen tests within a week of arrival but will not need to isolate.

New Zealand has continually relaxed its reopening timetable and requirements in recent weeks. In February, it said tourists wouldn’t be able to return until July, though did hint that was a worst-case scenario.

Air New Zealand’s chief executive, Greg Foran, said the last two years had been “extremely turbulent” for people.

“Pre-COVID-19, Australia was the largest tourism market for both our airline and New Zealand,” he said. “We know a lot of tourism operators have been missing international visitors so we’re looking forward to playing our role in New Zealand’s recovery.

“On our long-haul network, we’re seeing particular interest in journeys from North America around the July holiday period. It’s a sign that tourists still have New Zealand at the top of their bucket list.”

The airline said it has added more than 50 flights per week on its 15 international routes and will adjust capacity to meet demand in the coming months.

Despite hopes the Omicron wave is fading, Air New Zealand still announced a loss before taxation of NZ$376 million for the six-month period ending 31 December 2021.

Comment (1)

  • Tim

    says:

    Let’s be honest, people aren’t coming back into aviation and who’s really gonna get into aviation after what’s happened. You could be stood down, salaries aren’t increasing with inflation and the lifestyle isn’t there anymore. Did I mention the $90K+ flight training?

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