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Air New Zealand's CEO is taking a voluntary 15% pay cut, as the airline withdraws its yearly earnings guidance thanks to the coronavirus

James Hennessy
  • Air New Zealand has withdrawn the 2020 yearly earnings guidance it released just last month in February, as coronavirus continues to pummel the aviation industry.
  • In addition to suspending and consolidating routes, CEO Greg Foran will reduce his base pay of $1.65 million by approximately 15% ($250,000).
  • It follows Qantas' announcement on Friday that it would further cut routes to a number of destinations including New Zealand – due to uncertainty and soft demand amid the outbreak.
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Air New Zealand has announced it is withdrawing the full 2020 yearly earnings guidance it issued to the market in February, as the growing coronavirus crisis disrupts the aviation industry around the world.

In a statement, the airline said it was "not in a position" to provide an accurate earnings outlook to the market at this time, due to the unpredictability of the coronavirus situation.

Bak in February, Air New Zealand estimated the coronavirus hit would be between $NZ35 million ($34 million) to $NZ75 million ($72 million). Now, the company admits it will likely be much harder-hit, as demand falls and the airline is forced to slash and consolidate its current services.

CEO Greg Foran said in a statement it was clear the outbreak of the virus had created an "unprecedented situation" leading to difficulties in predicting future demand.

"We have been continuously monitoring bookings and in recent days have seen a further decline which coincides with media coverage of the spread of COVID-19 to most countries on our network as well as here in New Zealand," he said.

As a result, Air New Zealand has announced overall capacity reductions of approximately 10% across its network, including an extending suspension of its Shanghai service through to the end of April, and consolidation of Tasman, Pacific Islands and domestic flights through Marchand April. Capacity on flights to Australia have been cut by 7 percent.

Foran is also staring down the barrel of a pay cut. The CEO has voluntarily offered to reduce his base pay of $1.65 million by approximately 15% ($250,000), which the board has accepted. The airline's executive salary freeze, which has been in place since May 2019, will be extended.

Air New Zealand's woes are certainly not unique in the industry, which is facing a drop in demand unprecedented in recent years.

On Friday, Qantas announced it would further slash capacity in response to the reduced demand, including on routes to Japan, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.