'We are gutted': Flight Centre closes 58 stores

File photo
File photo
Flight Centre has stood down more than 300 employees and closed 58 of its retail stores across the country.

David Coombes, managing director Flight Centre NZ, said travel restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19 had meant staff had been unable to perform the overwhelming majority of the tasks that they normally do.

"Today, we made the incredibly difficult decisions to do what many other companies have already done by standing down over 300 of our people, and closing 58 of our retail stores across the country."

He said people were the heart and soul of our company and "we are gutted that it has come to this".

"Our people who are stepping down remain a very important part of our whanau, and of our future – we will welcome them back with open arms when restrictions are lifted and demand for travel starts to improve.

"We are determined to ensure this is a temporary measure."

Employees were eligible for the Covid-19 Government Wage Subsidy and the company was working hard to find alternative income sources for them while they are stood-down, Coombes said.

He said that they didn't want to adversely impact their corporate and leisure customers, and they were working to help people rearrange their future travel plans and repatriate travellers who are stranded overseas.

Coombes also said that Flight Centre had secured $A900 million ($NZ928 million) in funding to help serve customers after the Covid-19 crisis.

"While this is not a 'cure-all', it does ensure that Flight Centre New Zealand is financially secure and well-positioned to rebound."

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