Second lockdown will 'spark hundreds of thousands of job losses'

Second lockdown will ‘crucify’ Britain’s travel industry and spark hundreds of thousands of job losses, furious business chiefs warn

  • Association of British Travel Agents said industry will enter ‘complete shutdown’ 
  • It is fear some carriers will be forced to ground their fleets and lay off staff 
  • Estimates found that 80% of independent agents will run out of money by spring 

The second lockdown will destroy Britain’s travel industry and lead to hundreds of thousands of job losses, furious business chiefs warned last night.

The ban on international leisure travel and staycations means the industry will enter a ‘complete shutdown’ from Thursday, the Association of British Travel Agents said.

Mass cancellations of flights will begin today.

Thousands of families now face a battle for refunds on winter sun breaks ruined by the new lockdown, which bans any form of non-essential travel until December 2.

It is feared some carriers will be forced to ground their fleets and lay off staff. EasyJet has already confirmed that most of its UK flights will be called off for the next month at least.

The second lockdown will destroy Britain’s travel industry and lead to hundreds of thousands of job losses, furious business chiefs warned last night

According to industry estimates, 80 per cent of independent travel agents will run out of money by spring.

‘Hundreds of travel firms will go and even the bigger airlines will struggle to make it,’ an industry source said.

Industry leaders say problems have been worsened by the Government’s 14-day quarantine rule and a lack of progress on an air passenger testing regime. 

Last month, the Daily Mail’s campaign to Get Britain Flying Again forced Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to create a ‘global travel taskforce’ to explore testing options. It was due to reveal a testing plan this week but this is set to be delayed.

It is feared some carriers will be forced to ground their fleets and lay off staff

Travel bosses are demanding a support package. Trade bodies Airlines UK and the Airport Operators Association said: ‘A ban on international travel means airlines and airports are closed businesses and will now require financial support.’

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of Advantage Travel Partnership, the UK’s largest independent travel agent group, said: ‘The ban on international and domestic travel will crucify the travel industry.’ MP Henry Smith, chairman of the cross-party Future of Aviation Group, said: ‘We can’t have a global Britain without a thriving aviation sector and the consequences of failing to act to protect them are unthinkable.’

A Department for Transport spokesman said: ‘Our measures at the border are crucial in avoiding imported cases of coronavirus.’

Lockdown Q&A 

Can I go on holiday or go to 2nd home?

No, you are advised not to travel unless for essential reasons. This includes foreign travel, ‘staycations’ and all leisure travel within the UK. People can travel for work and there are exemptions for overnight stays at second homes for work purposes.

What are my holiday rights?

It depends how you booked. If your package holiday is cancelled you will be entitled to a refund within two weeks under ATOL rules.

If you booked flights separately, your airline should issue a full refund within a week – but only if the flight is cancelled.

If it still goes ahead, you may have to settle for a credit note voucher or a move to a later date. Do not cancel a flight yourself, because you will forfeit your right to a refund.

I am abroad. Should I come home early?

The lockdown doesn’t require you to return early and you should carry on as normal. If your package holiday is cut short, the operator is responsible for getting you back.

As for flights, most services will operate as normal until November 5. But airlines will start to cancel flights after that date and so there is a high chance your return will be affected. If you are due to fly home after November 5, the best advice is to wait and see what your airline says about your flight. Most should offer an alternative.

What about my staycation?

English people can finish their holidays. But holidays must not begin between November 5 and December 2. Your hotel or BnB should give you a refund, but some may offer a credit note or postponement. 

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