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Air NZ To Outsource Wide Body Heavy Maintenance

20 February 2006

Air New Zealand To Outsource Wide Body Heavy Maintenance

Air New Zealand today announced it will proceed with its plan to outsource wide body aircraft heavy maintenance after union members failed to ratify their own counterproposal.

Outsourcing will deliver the airline $48-million in cost savings over the next five years. Around 507 ANZES positions will be made redundant on top of the 110 announced in December, when the decision was made to outsource wide body aero engine maintenance.

Of the total 617 positions affected by outsourcing 121 are licensed aircraft engineers and the remainder are trades people, sales and customer support, clerical staff, planners and cleaners.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe said the union members had voted down their own proposal.

“I am extremely disappointed that the unions have been unable to gain the support of their members for the necessary labour reform that would have potentially saved around 300 jobs,” Mr Fyfe said.

“Support across all ANZES staff, both Christchurch and Auckland, was required for this counter proposal to succeed. This has not been forthcoming and we have to accept that.”

Mr Fyfe said the union delegates themselves clearly understood the challenges facing ANZES and what was necessary to ensure the retention of the heavy maintenance operation in New Zealand.

“It is unfortunate that many of their members could not accept the need for change even after several months of briefings from the company and their own representatives.”

The first instalment of future heavy maintenance work on the airline’s long haul fleet will be carried out at one of the world’s leading providers in Europe. Details of the provider and work programme will remain confidential until commercial agreements are formalised.

Outsourcing aircraft maintenance work has been a core part of Air New Zealand’s operations for many years. Various component, engine and airframe maintenance is already undertaken by organisations in Europe and Asia without safety issues being raised.

Mr Fyfe said that despite the unions’ failure to secure ratification of the counterproposal, it was clear there were many sections of the ANZES workforce that supported change within the business to ensure it had a viable long-term future.

“Therefore, we will continue a review of all remaining ANZES operations in Auckland and Christchurch. The first stage of this review should be completed within the next few weeks.”

Mr Fyfe said ANZES would now move into a period of consultation with staff affected by today’s outsourcing proposal.

“We remain committed to making every effort to assist staff during this difficult time. Many have already taken part in workshops provided by our Career and Change Centre since it opened in early January. For example, more than 220 staff have undertaken the CV writing course, over 200 have had interview skill and financial planning training and more than 130 have been through a course on starting their own business.”

ENDS

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