Business Travel Association (BTA) boss Clive Wratten has warned that if the furlough scheme is allowed to end without further sector-specific support for business travel, the sector could be halved.
With chancellor Rishi Sunak set to detail his winter economy plan on Thursday (24 September, BTA chief executive Wratten said that half of all business travel workers stood to lose their jobs by the end of October.
“The latest Covid-19 restrictions will be a fatal blow for the business travel sector unless the government acts now," said Wratten.
"Our industry urgently needs financial support extended well into 2021 and the introduction of [Covid] testing on departure.
"We want to get Britain moving – safely. Business travel powers our economy and Britain’s reputation for trade.
"Today, 50% of our industry stand to lose their jobs at the end of October and that figure is quickly rising.
"There is no time to delay if we want to keep Britain open for business.”
Sunak said he would update the House of Commons on the government’s plans to protect jobs through the winter, although it is understood support could be targeted at jobs in sectors based on their future viability.
Following a meeting with agent Penny Gray, former business secretary and MP for Tunbridge Wells, Greg Clark, asked Sunak earlier this month if he would "take steps to provide the travel industry with sector-specific support to assist in its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic".
Exchequer secretary to the Treasury, Kemi Badenoch MP, responded on Sunak’s behalf, stressing the government did recognise the challenges facing the travel industry, but intimated any support for travel would be conditional on businesses changing some of their working practices.
"The government has always considered providing support to strategically important companies that can reasonably be expected to have a long-term viable future," Badenoch added.