Tui Airways’ managing director is calling for an extension to the furlough scheme for airlines.
The furlough scheme is due to end on 31 October 2020 and while Dawn Wilson says the scheme has been “a really helpful thing from the chancellor”, she wants to see it extended.
Tui Airways furloughed “as many people as we could” when the scheme was announced, as it “materially grounded the airline”.
At one point, about 85% of the airline was furloughed. Engineers were kept on to maintain the aircraft, which were in active storage.
Since then it has been reviewing numbers “month by month”, signing off a handful of furlough returners at a time.
“It was tens in the beginning,” Wilson told TTG in Ibiza over the weekend.
“I’ve just signed off hundreds of cabin crew though because we’ve got the programme going.
“The furlough scheme for us has been a really helpful thing from the chancellor – the government has done really well on that.”
But she added: “We would like it to continue. Because our industry will be one of the last that gets back to a [more normal] position.
“We’re going into winter which is always tough anyway, and it will depend on our ski programme and long-haul as to how quickly we can bounce back,” she said.
Asked what she’d like to see from government, Wilson said: “We would ask for a package of measures that help us with our restart in terms of aviation.
“One of the key areas is around APD – getting some sort of APD holiday, because that will not only help us, it will stimulate the economy and also stimulate customers purchasing a holiday.
“Also getting some relaxation of the slot waiver 80:20 rule – and any extension of the furlough scheme.”
She added: “From an individual position, each airline will have their own needs and desires.
“Collectively the industry is saying ‘we need this package’.”
Wilson said there had been a lot of collaboration across the airlines, which has helped with establishing industry standards, such as what crew need to wear onboard.