The opening of the trans-Tasman travel bubble this week was a “pretty significant” moment for Air New Zealand a year after the borders shut, says CEO Greg Foran.
Speaking to Breakfast this morning from Auckland Airport while on his way to Sydney, Foran says today is the busiest day for the airline since New Zealand went into lockdown a little over a year ago.
Around 40,000 people are expected to fly domestically and to Australia today.
Foran says to have a travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia finally operating is “really exciting”.
The airline was hit hard last year with revenue cut well below half and a significant loss made as flights suddenly became grounded.
Pre-Covid, Air New Zealand was making $6 million in revenue and making $400 million in profit a year before international travel came to an end in 2020, says Foran.
“It’s really hit us hard, but the good news is we’re recovering. I’m confident that we’re going to emerge from this in a really good shape.”
Staff redundancies also hit the company hard with around 4000 employees of the airline made redundant due to Covid-19.
With the opening of the border to Australia, Air New Zealand has been able to start re-employing staff.
“It’s been terrific to be able to get over 300 of our crew back as we’ve opened this bubble and that’s been crew that have been flying mid-haul and long-haul,” says Foran.
“It’s really just been fantastic to have some of our Air New Zealanders come back into the fold.”
Foran says with the Government’s billion-dollar loan to the company and as the borders continue to open following the vaccination roll out, he says a “really good recovery coming” for the national airline.