The problem with pandemics: how COVID-19 is set to shake the world of travel

Airlines crash land, and travel bans are put in place: how is the coronavirus affecting travel? Madeleine Raine discusses

Madeleine Raine
19th March 2020
Feature Image Credit: Alf van Beem from Wikicommons
As the coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, has been sweeping across the world, it has left its mark not only on those who have been in contact with the virus but also on thousands of companies in every country. Due to new government incentives to prevent the further spread of the virus by advising against all unnecessary travel, travel companies across the globe are beginning to face a large crisis that could leave hundreds and thousands of staff without a job.

Flybe in particular has suffered with its announcement that it has gone into administration on the 5th March putting 2000 jobs at risk:

Sadly, despite the efforts of all involved to turn the airline around…the impact of COVID-19 on Flybe’s trading means that the consortium can no longer commit to continued financial support.

- Virgin Atlantic

Flybe released this statement claiming that COVID-19 unfortunately had a large part to play in the disruption of their company. The fact that Flybe operates regionally immediately deemed it a vulnerable company who would suffer in the case of a pandemic such as COVID-19. Flybe operate around 40% of the UK’s regional flights meaning they have lost a large amount of their revenue due to the increased precautions and government advice in the face of this growing virus. As of yet it is unknown whether Flybe will be able to surface from this or whether the virus was in fact the final blow for this small airline company.

It is not just airlines that are suffering with this new onslaught however, with hundreds and thousands of Britons facing decisions when it comes to flying. With the Easter holidays fast approaching, many who were looking forward to their holidays are now beginning to have second doubts. With China, South Korea and now Italy enforcing its own quarantine, many holiday-goers have been faced with the disappointment of not being able to travel.

The travel industry is a crucial asset to the smooth flow of the global economy. It is the only industry that can comfortably boast the fact that it supports 1 in 10 jobs. The travel industry does not relate solely to airline companies, but also supports hotels, restaurants, retail, and even technology. With the increasing modernisation of our world today, the importance of travel whether for business, or leisure, is too crucial to ignore. Without the demand that the travel industry is usually host to, millions of jobs around the globe are threatened.

With the uncertainty surrounding this virus and the continuing work by researchers and scientists to unravel more of its mystery, airline companies have taken it upon themselves to be highly accommodating with their passengers. For those whose travel plans have been directly affected by the virus, meaning entry into the country is impossible under government restrictions, then a full refund will be offered. For those on long-haul flights that pass-through Asia information regarding travel and whether refunds would be available are more easily gathered by the airline company itself. Those with trips booked to countries like Asia and Australia should have already been contacted individually regarding the nature of the trip and the feasible course of action.

Image Credit: Free-Photos from Pixabay

The start of the new decade has certainly been a stressful and worrying one and we are certainly far from ridding ourselves of this virus. However, the main message to take away from this all is the importance of excellent self-hygiene and solidarity in a time that is very daunting indeed. As Boris Johnson announced at Downing Street, “Our country remains extremely well prepared. We already have a fantastic NHS, fantastic testing systems and fantastic surveillance of the spread of disease”. Whilst British cases are growing in size, the excellence of the NHS and the power of the people can and will help fight COVID-19.

Feature Image Credit: Alf van Beem from Wikicommons

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AUTHOR: Madeleine Raine
MA History student with a BA in English Literature and History. Lifestyle writer and avid traveller who has recently branched out to also cover news articles. Twitter @RaineMadeleine

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