Flight Centre has confirmed that up to 1,500 of its sales and support staff are facing redundancy, as the company scrambles to stay afloat amid COVID-19 travel restrictions.
A spokeswoman for Flight Centre told Travel Weekly that a large number of its staff have been stood down or made redundant as it works to lower its cost base to the targeted level of $65 million per month.
“Sadly, this is the case throughout the travel and tourism industries, with thousands of jobs already lost and, based on research released recently by the Tourism and Transport Forum, tens of thousands of additional jobs at risk if the JobKeeper program is not extended,” the spokeswoman said.
“Within our business, up to 1,500 sales and support roles may become redundant in Australia (the workforce here was 10,000 people pre coronavirus) once we make an assessment of the remaining limited work to perform and undertake our consultation process.”
She said that Flight Centre is working to preserve as many roles as it can, as well as maintaining close contact with those who have been stood down and helping anyone whose role has been made redundant to find alternative employment.
“On a positive note, some have already found new jobs with employers that we have developed relationships with over the past few months,” the spokeswoman added.
While Flight Centre appreciates the government support provided through JobKeeper, the company said it does not offset the almost total loss of revenue brought on by the restrictions and it is expected to expire in September, well before any significant rebound in the industry is expected to occur.
“We are starting to see an increase in domestic bookings, particularly since domestic travel restrictions were relaxed, but half of the bookings that our leisure salespeople typically make are for international travel, and there is no definitive timeframe for its return or even for the opening of international travel bubbles or corridors, so this will be a significant contributing factor for staff remaining on stand-down or being made redundant,” the spokeswoman said.