Air New Zealand has begun the process of recalling all A320 cabin crew currently furloughed in preparation for quarantine-free travel to Australia and Rarotonga in early 2021.
The 175 cabin crew have been furloughed since June, having chosen that option over redundancy.
Air NZ’s announcement comes after Jacinda Ardern and Cook Islands PM Mark Brown issued a statement last weekend saying there was an agreement to facilitate quarantine-free travel between the two countries.
Last week, Cabinet also agreed in principle to establish a bubble with Australia in the first quarter of 2021.
Air New Zealand general manager of cabin crew Leeanne Langridge said it was “heartwarming” to be making the calls before Christmas.
“We’ve had incredible feedback from businesses all over the country about our cabin crew who have been volunteering and working in other industries while they have been on furlough,” she said.
“They will now undergo comprehensive refresher training before taking to the skies again.
“This is also great news for our airline and Aotearoa as we’re looking forward to reconnecting more New Zealanders with our Pacific and Australian neighbours.”