After a tough year, Air New Zealand's rewarding each permanent staff member with $1000 in shares.
The bonus comes as the company expects to make a hefty loss of $450 million despite help from the Government.
Cabin crew member Krystian Heath described feeling “like the carpet’s been pulled from under your feet, like your world has turned upside down” after getting caught in the national airline’s flood of redundancies last Easter.
Now, Heath is back in a new role offering up new snack options for passengers.
“I feel incredibly fortunate and lucky. People were coming back, it was so welcoming from everybody because they knew what we'd been through because they were wondering themselves, “Am I going to lose my job?".
Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran called today's bonus announcement “recognition for - if you like - all of those staff who've had to work all the way through [the Covid-19 pandemic]”.
Trade union E tū’s head of aviation, Savage says it's a “positive sign” for Air New Zealand staff and the "work that they have been putting in over the last year and a half and the sacrifices they've made".
"There's still a long way to go and the big test is really going to be in contract negotiations that are happening both this year and next year," he said.
Air New Zealand’s three stages of recovery have been designated: survive, revive, and thrive.
“What we've said is now we're out of survive and into revive, let's get back to some normality here so let's - for those people who have taken pay reductions - let's get them back to the pay they were on previously,” Foran said.
From next month, staff who faced cuts to pay and allowances will have them resumed.
Of the more than 4000 staff who lost their jobs last year, around 500 have been reemployed. However, there is a long list – consisting mainly of pilots and cabin crew - still hoping to one day be recalled.
Foran says it will be "determined by when borders are going to open, adding that the "key determiner of that will be vaccinations".
While the borders remain closed, domestic capacity is at 90 per cent. Meanwhile, trans-Tasman travel is at 70 per cent of pre-Covid levels and long-haul travel is at five per cent.
It’s hoped there will be more international travel from this time next year.