Air New Zealand's aviation maintenance unit Safe Air plans to cut 84 jobs, or about 30 percent of its workforce, citing its struggle to attract new international contracts in the face of a high kiwi dollar, according to a union statement.

The airline confirmed Safe Air may cut about 80 jobs as some long-term contracts come to an end.

"Since 2005, Safe Air has been supporting the significant upgrades of the Royal New Zealand Air Force's C-130 Hercules and P3 Orion aircraft fleets," Air New Zealand said in an emailed statement. "As these programmes are concluded over the coming 12 months it is necessary to reposition the business for reduced future work flow."

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union said in a separate statement that Safe Air "told staff the redundancies are a result of existing contracts coming to an end and the high New Zealand dollar making the business uncompetitive in attracting new international work."


Safe Air became a subsidiary of Air New Zealand in 1978 when National Airways Corp merged with the airline. Safe Air has about 270 workers, according to its website.

Shares of Air New Zealand rose 1.4 percent to $1.50 and have gained 14 percent this year.