Air New Zealand Lays Off All 777 Crews

Filed Under: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand has revealed to employees that they plan to ground their fleet of Boeing 777s for a year, and as a result plan to cut almost 1,000 jobs, including those of all crews working on the 777.

Air New Zealand grounding 777s for a year

Newshub reports on how Air New Zealand today announced a significant downsizing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Air New Zealand’s long haul fleet currently consists of:

  • 8 Boeing 777-200ERs
  • 8 Boeing 777-300ERs
  • 14 Boeing 787-9s

Air New Zealand expects their fleet of 16 Boeing 777s to be grounded until April 2021, meaning that over half of their long haul fleet isn’t expected to fly in the next year. That’s huge.

Air New Zealand laying off all 777 crews

Given that over half of Air New Zealand’s long haul planes will be grounded for at least a year, the airline plans to lay off nearly two thirds of long haul flight attendants. The airline has 1,533 long haul crew members, and is looking to reduce that to 583.

Air New Zealand trains their cabin crew to specific fleets (while at some other airlines flight attendants are trained on all aircraft type), so the 777 crews will be without work.

Even the 787 crews will be reduced. Of the 671 Boeing 787 crews, 86 will be laid off:

  • The service manager roles will be reduced from 157 people to 142 people
  • The flight attendant roles will be reduced from 514 people to 443 people

The airline made it clear that they can’t sustain the cost of carrying “such significant numbers of surplus crew,” and that while they’ll consider leave without pay, large cuts would still be needed.

Status of Air New Zealand’s operations

Currently Air New Zealand has suspended all scheduled passenger operations through at least June 30, 2020. The airline is operating a limited number of domestic flights for essential workers, along with some international cargo and repatriation flights.

Air New Zealand’s Chief Revenue Officer has continued to share interesting stats about future bookings on his Twitter (he recently shared that they were averaging under two passengers per flight). For example, yesterday he said that the airline got one A320 worth of sales yesterday for the entire month of May travel.

New Zealand has had quite a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has closed borders to foreigners, and is even mulling keeping them closed until there are vaccines.

Bottom line

Air New Zealand plans to ground all 16 Boeing 777s until at least April 2021, and as a result is laying off nearly 1,000 employees. My thoughts are with those at Air New Zealand losing their jobs, as we’re seeing cuts at so many airlines around the globe…

  1. I got a vibe that this may be the end of the 777s at Air NZ. Would it be unrealistic to predict a transition to a full 787 Long Haul fleet and a full a320 short haul fleet in order to simplify its operations?

  2. @ Phil – it would have a brave bet that in, say 5 years time the extra capacity a 777-300 has over a 789 still wouldn’t be needed on LAX-AKL and their other biggest routes

  3. I have an open jaw trip booked in late May on Air NZ from MEL-AKL-SYD. They’re only offering a voucher, which is essentially useless to me. Do I have any recourse?

  4. Wow. Out of all the airlines I’ve flown the cabin crew at all my Air New Zealand flights have been the best in terms of smiles, service, and overall personality and work ethic! And this is in business, premium economy, and economy!
    I would have hoped that Air NZ could have retrained them to work in the call center for a few months perhaps or in a different role since they all know Air NZ fairly well in terms of culture and service. Even if it’s reduced pay, I think some of them would take that offer.

  5. Some say that EasyJet expect NOT fly more in 2020

    Mabye just start to plan for a domestic X-mas..


  6. Maybe the 787-10 will eventually take over the 777s, would be a great loss though and the Crew that uses to man them.

  7. @Tyler, they can take great pride that they live in a country that will support them as unemployed Kiwis. Free healthcare and unemployment benefits are ample to live on. They can even go to their first-year of college for free if they chose to.

  8. @Tylyer
    Exactly! This is a complete joke. Same with Angela Merkel’s management of the crisis in Germany. She is doing basically nothing, everything is done by lower level federal employees and the good scientists. Merkel is simply waiting 2 weeks and then says that all measures that the people like were her own idea and all other measures were not hers.

    Let’s see for how long NZ will be able to continue these benefits while they have closed down the very important tourism industry that generates all the tax dollars who enable it in the first place.

  9. Very sad … the 787 is not very comfy in the 3-3-3 economy seating plan . Cramped for certain

  10. My heart goes out to Doug. I was incredibly lucky to travel to New Zealand and Australia in December and early part of January. From LAX-AKL, travel through the north and south island, then MEL-CNS-SYD, and return SYD-LAX plus two connecting flights home. Twenty-two days, 11 flights (business and economy), four airlines, eight hotels. Little did we know the Coronavirus was beginning to threaten the world and travel industry. It’s sad to think this couldn’t have happened. Now I am sad so many travelers’ dreams are shattered by this pandemic.

    In one sense I understand the extreme measures being taken by Air New Zealand, Quantas, AA and other airlines to NZ and Australia. New Zealand and Australia are so far from most countries, so it makes sense to extend every possible measure of protection to them.

    As for switching from one type of aircraft to another less comfortable, that does not make sense. The long flight is quite “trying,” and it’s time airlines make all seats high quality. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how airlines possibly implement “social distancing” and cleanliness.

  11. And just when they were entertaining the idea of a new business class… I fly them, and I was looking forward to that, but now, I guess we even have to wait longer for that to happen. Their crew is the best I’ve ever experienced.

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