With coronavirus impacting bookings, Australia’s largest travel agency group Flight Centre has asked full-time employees to consider working four days a week instead of five.
Flight Centre made the request in an internal email that said the move would make a big difference in offsetting the impact of coronavirus on the business, The Australian reported.
Flight Centre spokesperson Hadyn Long told Inside Retail that the “shorter work week is one of the options that has been made available to our support and sales people over the next couple of months”.
“People are still travelling but it is clear that travel demand will be softer than normal over the next few months, which is why we’re keeping a close eye on costs in the short-term,” he remarked, saying that flexibility in the short term could make way for longer hours as demand returns, which Flight Centre predicts will happen.
“We want to ensure we are ready for that if it happens again this time.”
Flight Centre saw demand for travel soften after 2003’s SARS outbreak, but experienced a strong rebound afterwards.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that the Italian government has introduced new measures, effective from 8 March, to restrict the spread of COVID−19. This includes travel restrictions to 14 provinces.
“We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to the region of Lombardia (Lombardy), and provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio nell' Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Vercelli, Padova, Treviso, and Venezia are subject to the new measures,” DFAT now says on its Smartraveller website.
“You are able to depart these areas in accordance with your individual needs. You may be subject to screening and other measures as determined by local authorities.”
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