Coronavirus has already had a dramatic effect on the travel industry, with airlines being forced to amend itineraries and cancel flights. At present Travel Expert, Simon Calder predicts “between 400 and 500” Britons are also on holiday, facing struggles to get home.
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Yet even once borders reopen, and the panic surrounding this pandemic dies down, the future of the travel industry could be rocky for some time.
While Britons currently benefit from consistent deals form budget airlines such as eaysJet and Ryanair, as well as seasonal holiday packages for companies such as TUI, this could change for the future.
Travel Expert Simon Calder appeared on ITV’s This Morning today and warned about the knock-on effect the current travel bans could have in the future.
He says the consequences of what he describes as “empty pointless” decisions of some governments will “cause social and economic problems.”
He said: “It going to be going back to about the year 2000 or 1990.
“There will be fewer choices higher prices and sadly the fantastic professionals working int ravel will not be working in travel.
“There will be, I’m afraid, many job losses. Great travel companies will fail I fear.
“We’ll see how much money the government can put in.”
Many airlines have already fallen victim to the lack of demand for travel, with Flybe becoming one of the first to enter administration in the early stages of the pandemic.
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They claimed a lack of bookings from passengers was the reason.
However, Alana Gomez, spokeswoman for flight-comparison site www.jetcost.co.uk, said: “Coronavirus will likely become the scapegoat for Flybe’s collapse, but it would be obtuse and even dangerous to blame it wholly for the situation.
“The airline has been struggling for some time now and would likely have still gone under without the assistance of the virus.”
Meanwhile, Norwegian Air is also feeling the strain of the pandemic.
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The airline was forced to pull hundreds of its usual routes and has warned it will be laying off members of staff.
approximately 7,300 of Norwegian staff being temporarily laid-off.
“The COVID-19 situation is escalating by the hour and due to stagnating demand and enforced travel restrictions by authorities worldwide, Norwegian will gradually cancel most of its flights and temporarily lay off a major share of its workforce,” the airline said in a statement.
“What our industry is now facing is unprecedented and critical as we are approaching a scenario where most of our airplanes will be temporarily grounded,” explained CEO Jacob Schram of Norwegian.
The CAA said in a statement on its website: “As part of its regulatory duties, the UK Civil Aviation Authority consistently monitors and prepares for a variety of scenarios.
“We are closely monitoring the evolution of the coronavirus situation and considering any required precautions to take.
“We have robust contingency measures in place to ensure continuity of our safety-critical regulatory business in the event of the spread of COVID-19.”
Although the FCO issued a warning for Britons to avoid “all but essential travel for the next 30 days” yesterday, Simon Calder also explained that these are less to do with lessening person-to-person spread and more to do with ensuring Britons are not trapped abroad.
Calder said: “It’s nothing to do with you or me getting coronavirus. It’s to do with the travel bans going on.
“The FCO really doesn’t want too many other British people stuck in places where people are in lockdown.”
He added: “I calculate somewhere between 500 and 600 British holidaymakers were abroad 24 hours ago at the time the announcement was made.”
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