21 Oct 2020

Flight Centre cuts another 160 staff, to close 23 more stores

4:41 pm on 21 October 2020

Flight Centre will axe a further 160 staff and close 23 more stores due to the ongoing impacts of Covid-19.

Generic picture of a brick and mortar Flight Centre store in Wellington.

Photo: RNZ / Matt Chatterton

Details have just come to light that the travel bookings company is undergoing another restructure, after already cutting about 600 jobs and closing about 70 stores earlier this year.

Its managing director, David Coombes, told customers in an email on Monday the cuts reflected the lack of available work for people in its stores at the moment as borders remained closed to international tourism.

"We are gutted to again be reducing our team and farewelling a large number of talented and passionate people from our business. Our people are at the core of who we are, so this is of course, heartbreaking.

"Our people were offered, and a number accepted, voluntary redundancy."

Coombes said he was confident the business would survive the pandemic.

"These decisions, however difficult, are made to do just that so we can continue to support our customers through the impact of Covid-19.

"As borders remain closed we have been forced to make this difficult decision to ensure our business stays viable, protecting our customers' refunds and credits, and then opening up the world for Kiwis as border restrictions lift."

Flight Centre was one of the companies to benefit from the government's $47.6 million travel reimbursement scheme, as almost $700m in travel expenditure was locked up overseas because trips were cancelled due to the coronavirus.

It had also received $11.1m in wage subsidies from the government.

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