Air New Zealand has reduced its flight schedule for the next six months to deal with staff sickness.
It is estimated that 100,000 people will be affected by this decision as the airline deals with staff shortages due to Covid-19 and other illnesses.
As a result, there will be 1.5 per cent fewer seats than originally planned.
The airline said when it cut flights it would offer a credit or refund for those who could not be rebooked for the same day or with a day on either side for international travel.
Domestic travellers are entitled to claim up to 10 times the cost of the ticket or the actual cost of delay, whichever is lower if the cancellation is within the airline's control.
Those who have booked through a travel agent will need to contact them if any changes are needed, or if eligible, request a refund.
Chief Executive Gref Foran spoke to Morning Report about how it’s been a tough five weeks with sickness and bad weather having a big impact.
“We really want to avoid getting ourselves into a situation, particularly around Christmas time, of not being able to get people where they need to get to," he said.
Air New Zealand has recently ramped up their call centre staffing to assist with the changes and with flight connections.
Wait times for callers are slowly reducing.
Crew sickness has been the highest in over a decade, with the airline stretched to capacity.
More than 2,000 pilots, airport staff, cabin crew, engineers have been rehired or employed, according to Foran.
“We see those challenges continuing not just for the crew, but for our whole operation, so we are making proactive changes to address them," he said.
Air New Zealand plans to be operating at 90 per cent capacity for the next six months.
Words by Millie Hinchliffe
Featured Image Credit: Tristar Photos / Alamy
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