Threats of mass redundancies at airlines should be treated with scepticism, according to a business travel specialist.
Speaking during a TTG Business Live seminar, Mel Phaure, owner of Blue Cube Corporate Travel Management, said her clients were “chomping at the bit” to travel again.
“I’m a little bit sceptical when you hear 12,000 redundancies [at British Airways], 3,000 [at Ryanair], she said, adding: “I think maybe they are shedding a little bit.”
Phaure, who said she was not drawing her own salary, added: “Back in the recession of 2007/8 our phones were barely ringing but we didn’t make a single member of staff redundant because it took us far too long to find them and when you’ve got good people you want to keep them.”
However, she did not forecast an immediate comeback for the corporate sector, saying a slow return from the autumn would come to a halt over Christmas before a fuller resumption in February and March.
“I do expect it to be a very gradual return and probably not until some time early next year seeing some kind of normality, but we are already planning our comeback. Two days ago, we are contacted by a potential client for new business, companies are still wanting to travel.”
The government will outline its plan for a relaxation of measures on Sunday (10 May). “I think once we’ve got that, there’s going to be some optimism. We’re over the peak,” said C&M Recruitment’s Barbara Kolosinska.
She predicted a continuation of the government’s furlough scheme into the summer, but at a reduced rate from the current 80% wage guarantee.
“I think it will be staggered, because if it goes back down to zero for July/August, then what’s the whole point of the scheme?”