Flights Cancelled For Lunch

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Air New Zealand says it will have to cancel 25 regional flights so tower staff at five small airports can comply with new labor rules. The rules require lunch breaks to be scheduled, rather than allowing staff to take them as workload permits. The result is the five towers will have to be closed twice a day for up to 45 minutes while staff have their meal break. "We appear to be the victims of an overly rigid dictate to business on how to achieve a healthy and safe workplace, not to mention further constraints to the agility and adaptability we need in these incredibly challenging times," airline spokesman Bruce Parton told reporters.

Parton said the cancellations will take 2,500 seats out of the company's regional capacity and cost it millions in revenue. It will also mean less convenience for passengers in the affected communities of Gisborne, Napier, New Plymouth, Rotorua and Invercargill. Jobs will also be lost at two regional carriers, Air Nelson and Eagle Air.