The coronavirus outbreak has prompted Auckland Airport to cancel its interim dividend and directors and its chief executive are taking a 20 per cent pay cut.

Adrian Littlewood, the chief executive, said it was a difficult decision after further information from airlines about flight cancellations.

Littlewood's total remuneration in the last financial year was $2.4 million. His base salary was $1.28m and this was subject to the cut - equivalent to $240,000.

The decision comes after many of the airport's struggling airport customers - airlines - have also cut the pay of its executives.


Air New Zealand that it plans to slash its international and domestic capacity in the coming months and other airlines have done the same or are in the process of making sharp cuts.

"This decision has not been taken lightly, but our businesses are very closely linked and when airlines reduce flying and fewer people travel, our revenues fall too. As this happens, we will act fast as an organisation to reduce spending and cut costs," Littlewood said in a notice just sent to the NZX.

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"As a result, we have decided that continuing with this year's interim dividend payment (11c per share) on April 3 would not be in the best interests of the company. We realise some of our shareholders may be disappointed, but we ask for their understanding amid these extremely challenging circumstances," he said.

A wide range of cost-cutting measures have been introduced at the airport this week, including a hiring freeze, a suspension on all discretionary spending and a review of work underway with external consultants.

Littlewood said management was reviewing its capital expenditure programme and the salary cut would remain in place for the rest of the financial year.

"This continues to be a dynamic situation, and our focus remains on maintaining the airport operation and supporting the Ministry of Health and border agencies in protecting New Zealand against the spread of Covid-19," Littlewood said.

The airport yesterday announced it had suspended earnings guidance for the year to June 30, 2020. Further market updates will be issued as significant new information emerges.