Air New Zealand has asked staff to take extra hours and volunteer time to fill gaps in the airline’s workforce during the busy holiday period in July. The airline said it was experiencing its busiest winter holiday season in three years and cited a higher than usual employee sickness rate as a cause of the shortages. 

In a letter addressed to staff, which was seen by local newspaper The New Zealand Herald on July 14, 2022, Air New Zealand said that it is “looking for some wonderful willing volunteers” who can help the struggling carrier “spread some magic with our customers during the school holiday period at Auckland (AKL), Wellington (WLG) and Christchurch (CHC) airports”. 

"Like our flights, your wonderful skills are in demand,” the airline said, adding that it requires additional help from now until July 25, 2022. 

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Air New Zealand has already warned passengers in advance about potential operational pressure and delays caused by extra operational pressure due to staff shortages. This is not the first time the airline has implemented a volunteer-based system in order to deal with rising passenger demand for air travel during busy holiday periods.  

The carrier could face more pressure when the country finally resumes all international air travel and fully reopens its borders by July 31, 2022. The country’s stringent COVID-19 travel restrictions will be removed for both air and marine travel, meaning that cruise ships will also be cleared to return to local ports. 

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