Passenger numbers at Auckland International Airport have dropped by 44 per cent compared to the same day last year as the global coronavirus outbreak slows travel to a trickle.
It comes as the downward spike led management to temporarily stand down its 80 volunteers.
Widely known as the Blue Coats, staff operate six helpdesks across domestic and international terminals.
"Our Ambassadors are treasured members of our airport community and this is only a temporary stand down,” says Anna Cassels-Brown, Auckland Airport general manager of operations.
“Many have long-standing links to the airport, with a huge amount of knowledge, experience and community spirit. Their ability to calmly deal with almost any issue, from lost toys to giving directions, is absolutely invaluable."
Ms Cassels-Brown said the spiraling passenger numbers have been trending since the outbreak of Covid-19.
“These are extremely challenging times for our industry, and everyone in the Auckland Airport community. The runway is a piece of critical national infrastructure and our focus continues to be on maintaining airport operations and supporting government agencies in protecting New Zealand against the spread of Covid-19,” said Ms Cassels-Brown.
She said the airport had adopted new ways of working to manage through the outbreak, including new social distancing protocols aimed at reducing the risk of Covid-19 spreading.