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Over the last few weeks, I’ve written about the real world impact as Covid19 has spread worldwide. In a matter of weeks, we’ve seen many businesses suffer and lives upended. The travel industry went head first into the storm and the numbers are staggering. Consumer demand is at an all time low. As the crisis continues, we’re seeing a spate of layoffs hit the industry already. That begs the question, how bad is that and will the industry ever recover to be the same again?

Coronavirus Impact: Travel Industry Layoffs

This Business Insider article outlines the wide scope and the deep cuts that many companies in the travel space are making. As customer demand is current almost non existent, companies are having to make cuts.

Company No. of Employees Laid Off/Furloughed
Uber 3,700
AirBnB 1,900
Virgin Atlantic 3,150
United Airlines 3,400
Lyft 982
Boeing 16,000
TripAdvisor 900
Hertz 10,000
Disney 43,000
Air Canada 5,100
Pebblebook Hotel Trust 4,000
Norwegian Airlines 7,300
Scandinavian Airlines 10,000


What does this mean going forward? A few possible outcomes may be visible in the short or medium term:

  • Companies who received taxpayer funded bailouts will be subject to more public and regulatory scrutiny. I wrote previously about the intense and vital debate that it has already sparked.
  • Certain companies will definitely be hit a lot harder than others. For example, AA’s President has already sounded the alarm about their future and the impact of this recession.
  • A few companies will use the crisis to make changes, largely negative. United was the most recent one to make changes to their loyalty program while nobody was watching. After removing award charts for their own flights, United also removed award charts for partner flights, that to after taking in the bailout money.
  • Once travel reopens, travel brands will fight to win back customers’ trust. Their marketing messages will be aimed at convincing you that they’re taking the best possible precautions in order to make your trip safe and comfortable.


The Pundit’s Mantra

While the numbers paint a grim picture, one can only hope to see a recovery soon. Travel will eventually return to ‘normal’ levels. However, we don’t really know what the new normal would be like.

What do you think the new normal for travel would be like in a post-coronavirus world? Let us know in the comments section.


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