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Air Zealand gives $1000 in company shares to all permanent employees

Air New Zealand's permanent employees will each be getting $1000 worth of the company's shares as recognition for their work the past year, despite predictions of another tough year.

An Air New Zealand plane serving regional routes approaches Wellington Airport. Source: istock.com

In a statement this morning, chief executive Greg Foran said it was important to recognise the work of staff during the "toughest years" for the airline.

The Covid-19 pandemic hit Air New Zealand, and other airlines around the world, hard as borders shut down to limit the spread of the virus.

Staff redundancies also hit the company hard with around 4000 employees of the airline made redundant due to Covid-19.

This morning, Air New Zealand provided indicative earnings commentary on the next financial year, which showed the company is again anticipating a significant loss and continued challenges given uncertainty about the reopening of long-haul borders.

Domestic capacity is currently about 90 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels.

Meanwhile, following the opening of the Trans-Tasman bubble in late April, the Australian market is building, with capacity currently at around 70 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels.

The airline said it currently anticipates a loss before other significant items and taxation in the 2022 financial year, comparable with that expected for the 2021 financial year. Losses are not expected to exceed $450 million for the 2021 financial year.

However, Foran said the shares bonus for staff was "the right thing to do given the mahi and sacrifices Air New Zealanders have made to get the airline through survive and into its revive phase".

"By awarding shares to our employees, we want them to have the chance to benefit from the future success we will really need their help to deliver," he added.

Air New Zealand's current share price is $1.62.

As well, Foran said after a year and a quarter on reduced salaries, employee pay will go back to pre-Covid time from July 1.

"These steps are possible because we're on a more stable financial footing given our strong domestic business and growing Tasman and Cook Islands revenues," he said.

"While a full recovery is still some time away, the changes announced today recognise that we cannot get there without an exceptional and ongoing contribution by our dedicated Air New Zealand team.

"I'm immensely proud of the way our people have responded to the Covid-19 crisis. They have risen to the occasion, working hard to keep New Zealand connected and Kiwis safe."

Some Air New Zealand pilots who continued to work on repatriation flights spent more than 100 days in isolation.

As well, Foran said their cargo team helped get 100,000 tonnes of New Zealand's product out to the world.

"Day in-and-out our people have done, and continue to do, everything they can in challenging and changing conditions to keep our customers safe."