Flag carrier Air New Zealand has reported that it posted its first loss of NZD87m ($57.23m) in 18 years due to the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

In March, the New Zealand Government granted a bailout offer of up to NZD900m ($522m) to the airline, which said that it took steps to secure NZD900m ($596.34m) in additional funding in response to Covid-19. The government owns 52% of the company.

It is likely to begin drawing on the loan in the next few weeks.

Air New Zealand chairman Dame Therese Walsh said: “Air New Zealand had a solid start to the year and was focused on driving profitable growth into the second half.

“We were also preparing to launch the first-ever non-stop link between New Zealand and New York and had announced several exciting innovations in the customer experience space.

“Now, nearly six months following the declaration of a global pandemic, the $87m loss we are reporting today, our first loss in 18 years, reflects the quick and severe impact Covid-19 has had on our business.

“Faced with such a swift decline in revenue as lockdown restrictions were implemented and borders were closed, we took immediate steps to secure NZD900m in additional funding, and drastically reduced our cash burn in the knowledge that, for a time, we would be a much smaller business than we had been pre-Covid.”

Air New Zealand chief executive officer Greg Foran will provide more context during the airline’s annual shareholders’ meeting scheduled for 29 September.

The carrier cut around 30% of its workforce and grounded most of its long-haul fleet to reduce cash burn amid international travel restrictions.