March 16, 2020 / 8:22 PM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 1-Auckland Airport scraps dividend, CEO to take pay cut as virus upends travel

(Adds CEO comment, Air NZ capacity cuts)

March 17 (Reuters) - Auckland International Airport said on Tuesday it would scrap its interim dividend on top of cost-cut measures that include a hiring freeze and a halt to discretionary spending due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“We realise some of our shareholders may be disappointed, but we ask for their understanding amid these extremely challenging circumstances,” Chief Executive Officer Adrian Littlewood said in a statement.

Littlewood will also take a 20% cut to his salary, while directors will see their fees reduced by 20% for the rest of the financial year, Auckland International Airport said.

The airport operator had only just suspended its full-year earnings guidance on Monday after New Zealand announced stringent border controls over the weekend to combat the fast-spreading virus.

Air New Zealand followed with an announcement on the same day where it further slashed capacity and said it would look to lay off some permanent employees.

“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,” Littlewood added. (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Maju Samuel)

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