Wellington, Aug 17 NZPA - Pacific Blue's grounding of its domestic New Zealand routes will cost up to 200 jobs, not create 100 new ones as claimed by the airline, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU).
Pacific Blue yesterday announced it would stop flying its loss making New Zealand domestic routes from October 18 and put the aircraft on to the trans-Tasman and medium haul international routes, creating up to 100 new jobs.
Pacific Blue employs around 450 New Zealanders at crew bases in Christchurch and Auckland and its head office in Christchurch.
But EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said Pacific Blue was dependent on a number of other service providers and suppliers who would have to scale back their operations because of the loss of domestic work.
"The attempt by Pacific Blue to cover up the true impact of their withdrawal from domestic services by saying they would create new jobs is just crass as it's clear the opposite will happen."
The EPMU represented nearly 90 ground staff in Auckland and Wellington who work for Menzies Aviation and whose jobs would be affected.
Another 30 or 40 ground staff in Christchurch and some of the cabin crew flying domestically would also be affected, Mr Little said.
"Once again, a large number of kiwi workers will pay the price of proving that our domestic aviation market cannot sustain three airlines on the main routes.
The union would work with the industry to see if there were other opportunities for the aviation staff, he said.
Pacific Blue currently flies from Wellington to Auckland three times daily and Wellington to Christchurch twice daily.
Air New Zealand said it would pick up thousands of Virgin Blue's disrupted passengers and low-cost carrier Jetstar also said it planned to increase its fledgling New Zealand operations, taking advantage of Virgin Blue's departure from the market.
The airline, owned by Qantas, said it would add two extra A320 aircraft to its eight strong NZ fleet to support more domestic and trans-Tasman routes.
This included the launch of Melbourne to Queenstown, Gold Coast to Queenstown and Auckland to Cairns services.
Jetstar chief Bruce Buchanan said the airline would increase flights from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington in advance of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
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