International rental car firm Avis Budget Group is undergoing consultation to lay off an undisclosed number of its workforce.

Owned by American firm Avis Budget Car Rental, Avis Budget Group operates Avis Rent A Car, Apex Car Rentals and Budget Rent A Car and employs about 800 people in New Zealand across the businesses.

The company could not confirm how many roles would be disestablished. It has started the consultation process with its employees to inform them about proposed disestablishment of roles and redundancies.

Avis Budget Group received millions of dollars in wage subsidies but the company says it continues to struggle to cope with the impacts of Covid-19.

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Avis received $3.6 million in wage subsidies for 548 staff and $2.3m for 535 staff from the wage subsidy extension. Apex received $1.3m initially for 208 staff followed by $785,000 in the extension for 176 staff.

"Unfortunately, what has become clear is that any kind of business recovery is going to be slower than initially anticipated, which means regrettably, we will require fewer people than we employ currently," a spokesman for the group told the Herald.

"We are deeply saddened to be taking this step and do so fully aware of the impact it will have on our operational employees.

"We are working with those affected to ensure they have all the information they need and what this means for them, as well as providing support to our team during this difficult time."

The spokesman said the group was facing "the most challenging period in the history of the company".

"Restrictions on international travel and nervousness about domestic travel are hitting our airport business particularly hard and will affect our recovery.

"There is great uncertainty surrounding border openings, international travel and the overall global economic outlook. We expect corporate travel to be significantly reduced for an extended period of time and, as an isolated long-haul destination, we expect the recovery of international tourist numbers to be long."

Avis Budget Group said it had frozen its discretionary expenditure, placed projects on hold, negotiated with landlords and airports for reductions and de-fleeted as it continues to cope with a drop in revenue.

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