The boss of Jet2holidays does not expect to make further redundancies once the furlough scheme comes to a close, and says companies should “prepare for the worst”.
Chief executive Steve Heapy said he did not expect the government to extend its flagship Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme past its current end date, October 31.
“Everybody knows it’s going to end,” he said. “Everybody should plan on that basis. It’s built into our forecasts. We’re prepared for the furlough scheme to end and we’ll get through winter and hopefully carry on flying.”
Heapy added: “To bury your head in the sand and keep your fingers crossed and hope that it’s extended is probably not the right strategy. A company’s strategy shouldn’t be built on hope and good luck. So we’ve prepared for the scale furlough scheme to end. If it’s extended, fantastic. I’m not too sure that it will be extended. We know the specific problems in the travel industry, and they are huge, but lots of other industries have the same problems.”
Noting that the government “can’t keep funding this forever” he said: “I would love the furlough scheme to be extended but it’s a little difficult to think that they would extend it. As a business, you’ve got to prepare for the worst.”
Heapy was, however, keen to point to a “massive future for the travel industry”, adding: “Luckily, we sell a product that everybody wants, everybody wants to go and get their slice of sunshine and get out of the unpredictable UK weather. But what we can’t do is just sit around saying, ‘we need more business’ [or] ‘We need this, we need that’.
“We’ve got all got to get off our backsides and make this work. We’ve got to go and look for customers, look after customers. It’s going to be a hard road to getting back on our feet. But we’ve got the talent within the industry to do it, we’ve got some great companies in the industry, and we’ve got to work hard. We will work as hard as we can and do whatever we can with our independent travel agent partners to help them back on the feet.”
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