A tribunal in New Zealand has ruled that flag carrier Air New Zealand has to refund a customer for flights cancelled because of COCID-19 because the airline chose to cut its own services, according to media reports. The case could have implications for thousands of other travellers who were refused refunds by the carrier due to the pandemic. The airline has refused to refund customers for their grounded flights, saying that refunding every disrupted passenger would further threaten its already shaky financial position. The airline also announced that it would be cutting almost 400 additional workers.
In a recently released decision, tribunal referee Nicholas Blake found the airline in breach of its own customer guarantee after it cancelled the customer’s flights as the pandemic hit. The customer, who did not want to be named, had four Air New Zealand flights between Auckland and Kerikeri in June and a return trip to Niue in July cancelled or re-arranged as the airline cut services to save money, the reports said.
Meanwhile, the airline also said it is cutting almost 400 more international crew jobs and is looking to make several hundred other workers on leave without pay officially redundant. The national carrier reported a NZ$454 million loss for the year ended June and has cut 4,000 jobs. Air NZ is burning up to NZ$85 million a month just keeping the doors open, and it has started drawing down a NZ$900 million government loan.