Air NZ executives axed as airline cuts costs

An Air New Zealand Airbus A320 passes the Remarkables, headed to Queenstown Airport. PHOTO:...
The airline is steadily restoring domestic services as internal leisure travel is allowed. Photo: ODT
Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran has axed three top executives as the airline deals with fallout from Covid-19.

Chief strategy networks and alliances officer Nick Judd will depart the airline on May 31 and chief air operations and people safety officer John Whittaker on July 31.

Chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod ''will step away'' from the airline full-time on May 31 and will provide advisory support to Foran and the board during the current business transformation phase, a release from Air NZ says.

Between them they nearly 70 years' experience at the airline.

"As we have done in all parts of our business, we are creating the structure that is appropriate for an airline which we expect will take two years to get back to 70 percent of its former size. On that basis I have reduced the size of the executive team from nine to six," Foran said.

He said the portfolios of the three departing executives will be absorbed by the remaining members of the executive team.

"Nick, John and Mike have made an outstanding contribution to the airline with a combined 68 years of service at Air New Zealand.''

They had played pivotal roles in growing Air New Zealand's international network, tproducts and services,and deepening relationships with key stakeholders like unions and alliance partners.

''They will leave at a time where our customer satisfaction scores are at all-time highs, we are seen to lead the way with culture and people safety in aviation, our brand health is the best it has been and our corporate reputation is number one in Australia for the third year running and number one in New Zealand for the sixth consecutive year," Foran said.

Foran - who started in the top job in early February - said they had ''been incredibly helpful'' to him as he settled into his role and their deep experience has been vital as the airline navigated through a most tumultuous past 100 days.

''As with the current 30 percent workforce reduction, these three changes are equally difficult. Mike, John and Nick are going to be deeply missed and they have interacted with thousands of our Air New Zealand whanau, near and wide over many years.''

In April Foran appointed an airline outsider, former Spark and ICI chemical HR boss Joe McCollum to replace Jodie King who is leaving the airline to go to Vodafone.

This week it was announced that 1300 cabin crew jobs had gone. Already 300 jet pilots have been laid off and a final number of regional pilot jobs going is imminent.

When the magnitude of the crisis became clear in March, the airline said up to 3500 staff could lose their jobs. There is little prospect of long haul international flying until some time next year although more transtasman services could be restored within months if the health picture in New Zealand and Australia allows.

The airline is steadily restoring domestic services as internal leisure travel is allowed.

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