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Air New Zealand boss says airline will be mainly domestic, as it looks to lay off over 3000 staff

Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran says the airline will become smaller, predominantly flying domestically, as it looks to lay off over 3000 staff due to the impacts of coronavirus.

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It was a sombre sight at Christchurch Airport, with Air NZ grounding much of its fleet. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Foran released a message to staff tonight discussing the unprecedented changes ahead, after the airline had to cut 95 per cent of all flights.

"Air New Zealand will begin the painful process of materially reducing its workforce from this week as the severe economic impact of Covid-19 hits our airline," he began.

After talking about the lost revenue from international tourists using the airline and Kiwis travelling abroad, he continued.

"It is clear the Air New Zealand which emerges from Covid-19 is a much smaller airline and could take years to get back to its former size," he wrote.

"Therefore, we are planning to be a domestic airline with limited international services to keep supply lines open for the foreseeable future."

Mr Foran expects that even in a year's time the airline - which was bringing in revenue of around $5.8 billion before Covid-19 - may be at least 30 per cent smaller.

"To be clear it is shaping up that the size of the Air New Zealand workforce will reduce by up to 3500 roles in coming months."

"No areas will be immune whether it is our most senior leaders through to new joiners. The situation we find ourselves in is nobody’s fault."

Mr Foran says he looks forward to working with the unions to try and keep staff reductions to a minimum.