Kiwi flight attendants made redundant during the global coronavirus pandemic are increasingly swapping runways for jobs as strippers.

Hundreds of cabin crew at New Zealand airlines have lost their flying jobs after Covid-19 closed borders, locked down nations, and grounded flights.

In April, Air New Zealand confirmed nearly 1500 cabin crew faced redundancy.

But the Herald can reveal that some former flight attendants are now taking their clothes off to supplement their sudden lost income.

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Calendar Girls, which closed all three of its R18 strip joints in Christchurch, Wellington and on Auckland's Karangahape Rd on March 23 and is moving is shows online this weekend, say it's been inundated with job applications from ex-flight attendants.

More than half of Calendar Girls' online applications last month came from redundant cabin crew, a club spokesman said. He wouldn't give exact numbers but did say pre-coronavirus, they would get around 10-15 job applications a day. They had seven approaches from ex-flight attendants yesterday alone.

Calendar Girls closed all three of its R18 strip joints in Christchurch, Wellington and on Auckland's Karangahape Rd, on March 23.
Calendar Girls closed all three of its R18 strip joints in Christchurch, Wellington and on Auckland's Karangahape Rd, on March 23.

One former flight attendant who has become an exotic dancer since losing her job with a New Zealand airline told the Herald job seeking had turned up limited options.

With her savings running low, she was considering what other skills she had when she saw a strippers advert posted online and thought, 'Why not give it a go and try something new?' And here I am".

"Right now there will be so many thousands of flight attendants, pilots, and ground staff that are in the same situation as me and will need to look at other options and careers to be able to put dinner on the table for their family," said the dancer, who wanted to remain anonymous.

"Now is a good time to reflect on the other skills you may have and think about what else you could do to be financially stable."

Having worked in the aviation industry "for several years", as well as having experience as a painter, and in hospitality and banking, she saw striptease as an opportunity to use the skills she's picked up along the way.

Ominous signs first appeared in February, she said, when her and her colleagues started hearing talk of the coronavirus and the impact on the airline industry. As she saw jobs being lost in other countries, she knew she could be impacted in New Zealand.

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While "devastated" to hear their jobs were at risk, she took a grounded, philosophical approach.

"I knew it wasn't personal and that the company wanted the business to flourish but the coronavirus was impacting the company financially and they have to do what they have to do," she said.

"It was devastating but there are many things in my life that I've always wanted to take up, and I guess this is one of them. When a door closes, another one opens."

Calendar Girls is offering any dancers who perform in their old flight attendant uniform an exemption from paying club fees online or on stage until there is a Covid-19 vaccine.

But the dancer spoken to by the Herald says she handed in her company clothing when she left.

"As much as the customers would love a girl in uniform, that won't be happening unfortunately," she said.

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Calendar Girls is launching a new live webcams site this weekend, with dancers filming from their own homes.

One former flight attendant believes many colleagues will be looking to other skills after being made redundant over the coronavirus pandemic.
One former flight attendant believes many colleagues will be looking to other skills after being made redundant over the coronavirus pandemic.

And while it'll normally be a $9 per month subscription, it's free for customers while New Zealand is locked down at alert levels 3 or 4.

The website will feature "real girls from Calendar Girls" along with other international showgirls and have options for chatting in a public chat room or a two-way video streaming in private.

Subscribers can even tip the dancers, by either buying tokens on the site or through purchasing their very own merchandise, with each dancer selling photographs, videos, signed clothing or other merchandise on their profiles.

Club bosses say an online site and app had been in development for months but was fast-tracked by the pandemic.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

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They hope it will bring welcome relief for their dancers who are seen "tremendous loss of income".

"I think we all know how much entertainers like money," the club spokesman said.

Calendar Girls has been teasing the online shows through its social media channels for weeks. More than 2800 people have already signed up.

"It is a great way to be entertained in the comfort of your own home with the chance of subscribers also coming to meet the girls at our clubs not just online," the company spokesman said.

The Herald understands that the site is going live this weekend but the exact day and time is being kept under wraps for now. Calendar Girls say they will reveal the launch time through social media.