Air New Zealand has made the decision to bring forward the closure of its London cabin crew base of 130 flight attendants due to the impact of COVID-19 and travel restrictions imposed by governments around the world.
London-based cabin crew will operate their final service on the route on March 20 (ex Los Angeles). A New Zealand-based crew will operate the remaining flight on March 21. The route will then be suspended until June 30.
Air New Zealand had planned to close the cabin crew base with its withdrawal from the route in October 2020.
Air New Zealand general manager cabin crew Leeanne Langridge says these are unprecedented times for the airline and the past few weeks have presented an unsettling period for many staff.
"The increasing travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are having a significant impact on bookings and flight cancellations. While this is a tough decision, it’s important we take action now to responsibly manage Air New Zealand through this difficult period to maintain a national airline that is fit for the future.
"Our London-based cabin crew have always gone above and beyond. They consistently provide exemplary service to our customers and we remain incredibly proud of the base. Our priority now is supporting our people and we’ll be working closely with them and their union," says Leeanne.
Earlier in the week, Air New Zealand announced it is reviewing its cost base in response to COVID-19 and is working with unions on a range of measures to reduce its labour bill by 30 per cent.
The airline placed itself into a trading halt on Monday to allow it time to fully assess the operational and financial impacts of global travel restrictions. The trading halt remains in place.