The impact of the rapid spread of Covid-19 globally is unprecedented. In recent weeks we have had to adapt to changing local restrictions, firstly in our Asian destinations, ports of call for our Cruise business and most recently in Europe and some Caribbean Islands and the USA. Then, following the change in Foreign Commonwealth Office advice we stopped sending customers on holiday for at least the next 30 days.

    Next week over 300 return flights should be taking off from the UK and Ireland, increasing to nearly 400 a week during the Easter holidays. TUI UK & Ireland is part of TUI Group, the world’s leading travel company, which – newly formed in 2014 – has always been profitable and has been particularly successful in recent years with turnover of around €20 billion and operating earnings (EBIT) of €900 million – €1.2 billion. In Q1 TUI Group reported strong turnover growth of +8% versus the previous year.

    Due to the unique circumstances we are facing as a business we are introducing measures to ensure cash is preserved, costs are controlled, and the future of our business is protected. Our approach has been placed into three key categories; supporting our customers, looking after our colleagues and controlling our costs.

    Our retail and contact centre advisors will continue look after customers who have had cancelled holidays and support them in rebooking or booking holidays for the future. They will therefore be unaffected by the below changes, for as long it is safe to operate our stores.

    From 1 April 2020 and we will be making some adjustments to the contractual hours of all other colleagues, which will be reviewed on a monthly basis.

    Colleagues will fall into two distinct categories; this includes all members of the UK & Ireland board of directors.

    • Colleagues required to work will receive a 30% reduction in basic pay and contracted hours
    • Colleagues required to work less than 50%, or not at all, will receive a 50% reduction in basic pay and contracted hours

    There will be no redundancies (voluntary or otherwise), other than already planned activity in retail and seasonal Cabin Crew who were recruited ready for our summer season who are unfortunately no longer required.

    The airline is grateful to have the support of BALPA and UNITE and the workforces they represent in agreeing to support a range of extensive measures.

    We understand that these temporary changes will be difficult, but our commitment to our colleagues is that we will maintain the minimum wage threshold of £17,098 UK / €19,804 ROI (pro-rated).

    Today’s measures go above and beyond those already announced on 9 March 2020:

    • A company-wide recruitment freeze.
    • A restriction on all non-essential staff travel and training (*all safety and compliance training remains in place).

    Andrew Flintham, Managing Director TUI UK and Ireland commented: “The travel industry is facing unprecedented pressure. We will continue to put the customer at the heart of what we do, and when they can holiday with us again we want to be in the best position to deliver the wide range of destinations and experiences we do today. It is therefore imperative that we make these difficult cost decisions and also look after our colleagues during such unprecedented uncertainty.

    Our airline and overseas teams continue to work around the clock to get people home from around the globe, even supporting customers who were not due to fly with us. Our customer teams have been helping in retail stores, on social media, through our contact centres, and employees from around the business have been welcoming home arrivals at airports.

    We are a fantastic business and we look forward to taking people on holiday again soon.”