Air New Zealand plans to assign up to $700 (NZ$1,000) worth of its shares to the loyal permanent employees of the company as a sign of recognition for their work during the severe pandemic conditions in 2020.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the flag carrier, Greg Foran, confirmed to local media that each of the permanent staff members will hold a part of the airline’s shares worth $700 (NZ$1,000). According to Foran, such a decision was made to emphasize the work of the employees during the challenging year for the company. As for June 18, 2021, the price for a single airline’s share was $1,13 (NZ$1,62), the national stock exchange company New Zealand's Exchange data showed.

"By awarding shares to our employees, we want them to have the chance to benefit from the future success we will need their help to deliver. [...] While a full recovery is still some time away, the changes announced today recognize that we cannot get there without an exceptional and ongoing contribution by our dedicated Air New Zealand team,” Foran was quoted by the media on June 18, 2021.

“I'm immensely proud of the way our people have responded to the Covid-19 crisis. They have risen to the occasion, working hard to keep New Zealand connected and Kiwis safe," the CEO added.

Foran also hinted that since the current Air New Zealand’s capacity reached around 90% of 2019 levels, the airline did not expect to exceed a $450 million loss for the 2021 financial year. Futherthemore, in addition to the news regarding the shares offer, the head of the company outlined that employees whose salaries were reduced during the pandemic would receive wages equal to pre-pandemic levels from July 1, 2021.  

However, it will not be the first time when the management of Air New Zealand offers the staff its shares. In November 2020, the CEO was awarded around $1,4 million ($2 million) in convertible shares despite the airline struggling to deal with the financial crisis. At the time, Foran received such a payout when the air carrier was cutting costs and had to lay off around 4,000 of its staff. At the time, the company’s employees welcomed the news with indignation.