Air New Zealand has confirmed it plans to cut 180 jobs in Auckland but denies union claims it's closing a large maintenance facility.
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union says the national carrier plans to close the wide body aircraft heavy maintenance facility by July next year, with the loss of 180 jobs.
The airline has since confirmed it has entered into consultation with staff at the Auckland Technical Operations engineering base about plans to cut 180 jobs.
It says the changes reflect an expected fall in future demand for wide body maintenance services from within Air New Zealand and from external customers.
"This is largely due to Air New Zealand and its customers introducing more modern aircraft to their fleets, which require less frequent maintenance," a spokeswoman said."
However, the airline denies it will close the wide body aircraft heavy maintenance facility, saying it will continue to perform heavy maintenance work at the base.
The consultation with staff will run until late September, with a final decision due in October.
EPMU says the proposed closure comes after the airline lost third party engineering work and was unable to find replacement work. It is also retiring its own Boeing 767 fleet.
Union spokesman Strachan Crang said it would work with the airline to keep jobs in the country but said a plan by Air NZ to outsource the upgrade of its Boeing 777-200 fleet should be scrapped.
Mr Crang said the high NZ dollar had affected the ability of the facility to compete despite the best efforts of the workers.
"Over the past three years, they've delivered productivity gains in the double figures but this has all been eaten away by the high value of the New Zealand dollar."
Labour finance spokesman David Parker says the cuts were an indictment of the government's lack of ideas to boost employment.
"Kiwis deserve to have well-paid secure jobs, but they fear for their positions more than ever. Aircraft engineers are the type of highly skilled workers New Zealand needs to retain."