Travel firm Hays Travel is to cut nearly 900 jobs due to coronavirus travel restrictions.
The company, which bought Thomas Cook shops and took on more than 2,000 former staff when it collapsed last year, has said up to 878 employees may now lose their jobs.
Why are jobs being cut?
Owners of the company, husband and wife John and Irene Hays, said that changes to furlough conditions and the government’s advice against non-essential travel to Spain has left them with “no choice” but to cut jobs from their 4,500-strong workforce.
They said: "We are devastated that after all of our efforts and the huge investment we've made we now face losing some of our valued employees, through no fault of their own.
"Following the decision to ban travel to Spain and the changes in furlough conditions coming at the same time, we have had no choice."
However, the firm has promised to “do all we can in consultations” to help those who may lose their job, alongside focusing on “retaining as many people as possible and rebuilding consumer confidence through our renowned friendly and knowledgeable customer service.”
Who will be affected by the cuts?
The company has said that it is now consulting with 344 staff training as travel consultants and the 534 who work in the foreign exchange division.
However, the firm said its experienced travel sales staff, apprentices and other head office staff were not affected by the cuts.
There’s not yet any information regarding if these job cuts will affect any holidays that customers have booked, with holidays set to go ahead as normal.
However, those who have booked to go to Spain need to be aware of the changes to travel advice, with certain airlines suspending flights to both mainland Spain, alongside the Baleriac and Canary Islands.
Why are travel restrictions to Spain in place?
On 27 July, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) changed their travel guidance, advising “against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks in the country.”
The Canary Islands are Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa.
The Balearic Islands comprise Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera.
The travel advice is based on evidence of increases in cases of COVID-19 in several regions, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia, which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona.
“If you are returning from Spain you will be required to self-isolate on your return to the UK, but the FCO is not advising you to cut short your visit. You should contact your tour operator or airline if you have any questions about your return journey,” explains the FCO.
Which airlines have suspended flights?
Airline Jet2 has suspended its flights to mainland spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.Flights and holiday to Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerterventua, Lanzoarote, Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza are suspended up to and including 9 August.
Alongside this, flights and holidays to Jet2 destinations in mainland Spain, including Costa de Almeria, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia are suspended up to and including 16 August.
Travel operator TUI has extended the suspension of holidays for UK customers to mainland Spain until 17 August, and the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands until August 10.
Originally, TUI had cancelled all British holidays to mainland Spain until 9 August, and to the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands for UK customers until 4 August.