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Air New Zealand reduces flight schedule as crew sickness takes toll

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Air New Zealand will operate a reduced schedule of 1.5 percent fewer seats over the next six months as sickness levels with crew continue to cause disruption.

Most customers who experience a flight change will be transferred to another flight on the same day for domestic travel, and for international travel, on the same day or a day either side of their original booking.

Where customers cannot be accommodated within those timeframes, the airline says they can change their booking online, opt into credit or request a refund.

"Like many airlines around the world, we've been ramping up our operation at a time when COVID-19 and the flu continues to impact the aviation industry. Looking at the disruptions our customers and staff have faced over the past five weeks, we've made some adjustments to reduce short-notice cancellations in the months ahead," said Greg Foran, Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer. "While we did factor sickness into our ramp up plan, we've seen the highest rates of crew sickness in over a decade. We see these challenges continuing not just for crew, but for our whole operation, and so we're making proactive changes to address them."

According to Foran, reducing the number of flights means the airline will be able to have crew on standby to cover illness, which has not been possible lately.

"We're pulling out all the stops to minimize disruption and provide surety for our customers over the next six months. We have rehired or brought on more than 2,000 pilots, airport staff, cabin crew, contact centre and engineers, and we're going as fast as we can with recruitment and training. We're also exploring options to lease a crewed widebody aircraft for the busy summer period. We know customers want the Air New Zealand experience, and that's what we want to deliver too. But at the moment we're stretched to capacity and making sure our customers are able to travel is our top priority. The lease of an additional crewed aircraft may help us achieve that."

Air New Zealand's domestic and international schedule is expected to operate at 90% of pre-COVID-19 capacity for the next six months.

© Travel News Asia

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

2 Comments
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Crew sickness is only a small % of the problem.

The Airline re-started without sufficient infer-structure in place.

It is the creator of its own problems. Low staffing levels both on the ground & in the air compounded by

poor decision-making resulted in its own misery for staff & passengers

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Crews had better practise better social distancing if they don’t want infections to rocket…

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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