Hundreds of thousands of UK jobs could be axed within weeks because of coronavirus.
Airlines, hotels and restaurants say they will have no choice but to cull staff and reduce working hours.
Up to 50million jobs could be lost globally because of the pandemic, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Alex Cruz, the boss of British Airways, said his airline was fighting for its survival, job cuts were inevitable and the situation was more serious than 9/11.
He told staff in a memo: ‘We are suspending routes and will be parking aircraft in a way that we have never had to do before. Please do not underestimate the seriousness of this for our company.’
Half a million seasonal jobs in holiday parks, hotels and tourist areas have already been ‘frozen’, and ‘hundreds of thousands’ more are at risk due to a coronavirus cash crunch for UK bars, cafes and restaurants.
Alistair Darling, who was chancellor during the 2008 financial crisis, said the Government must consider massive bailouts for airlines and other firms hit by the virus.
The former Labour minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘As this intensifies, as it carries on, and I wouldn’t criticise the Chancellor for doing this, he will need to go back to the House of Commons – I had to do it several times during the financial crisis – they must do whatever it takes to keep the economy going.’
Asked if that included 2008 bank-style bailouts for companies and industries which in the weeks ahead could face financial difficulty, for example airlines, Lord Darling said: ‘I think they shouldn’t close the door to anything at the moment.
‘The Bank of England has, for example, made considerable funds available to be disbursed through the banking system to provide loans to companies, particularly small and medium sized enterprises.
‘But the government does have to have an eye on as we come through this, and we will, at some stage we will recover, we need to make sure we have still got the basic economic infrastructure that will work.’
Alistair Darling, who was chancellor during the 2008 financial crisis, said the Government must consider massive bailouts for airlines and other firms hit by the virus
Alex Cruz, BA boss, said his airline was fighting for its survival, job cuts were inevitable and the situation was more serious than 9/11
Dozens of airlines have cancelled flights as travel restrictions continue to tighten and worried holidaymakers choose to stay at home.
Low-cost airline Norwegian Air has cancelled more than 4,000 flights and said it plans to lay off up to half its staff.
Easyjet and Ryanair have cancelled hundreds of flights, while Virgin Atlantic has admitted some of its planes are ‘almost empty’.
In the UK, unions warned a swathe of airlines were preparing to announce job cuts.
Tim Morris, a civil air transport secretary for Unite, said: ‘The aviation industry was in crisis even without coronavirus. This is a perfect storm for our members.’
Yesterday the European Union condemned US President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend all travel from the Schengen area of Europe for 30 days.
People at risk of losing their jobs flooded social media to lament their vulnerable work situations
Insurers Aviva, Direct Line and Churchill suspended the sale of travel insurance to new customers, and Axa said new policies will not cover disruption caused by the virus.
The impact of coronavirus is already placing the hospitality sector, which employs 3.2million people, under serious strain.
Hotels are just a third full and sales in city centre bars and restaurants are down by a half, said Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality.
She added: ‘This is a question of survival for hospitality businesses. In two months they will run out of cash, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.’
High streets are braced for a collapse in the number of shoppers, with new figures yesterday showing footfall has fallen by a tenth in some spots.
Hays Travel, which bought 550 Thomas Cook stores in January, has asked staff to take unpaid leave. The pandemic could also deal a ‘hammer blow’ to the UK recording industry and ‘threaten the livelihoods of many people’, UK Music said.
BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend, due to take place in Dundee in late May, was cancelled and The Who, Madonna and Miley Cyrus have all abandoned live dates.
Cineworld said a widespread drop in demand could force it out of business in an update to the market this week.
Theatregoers cancelled bookings to shows across the country, as playhouses prepared for a change in Government advice that would see thousands of performances cancelled. The widespread uncertainty is also likely to hit the housing market.
A reporter for The Times detailed how she was trying to dissuade her chef flatmate, who had been ill, from going into work
Bosses lined up to criticise Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s first Budget for not doing enough to protect businesses from going bust.
Jonathan Downey, founder of London Union, which operates food and drink markets in London, said: ‘We need the Government to do something drastic if businesses are to survive and jobs be saved.
‘Not even the best businesses can survive this level of catastrophic collapse and the Government needs to act now.’
Germany has pledged a big ‘bazooka’ of unlimited cash loans to business hit by coronavirus.
The UK Government has promised to guarantee £1billion of loans. In a sign of the severity of the crisis for the aviation industry, America’s Delta Airlines said it was in bailout talks with the White House.
Workers left in the lurch took to Twitter to announce they had lost their jobs due to the outbreak.
One woman from Scotland had been set to start a new job as an air steward with EasyJet but was informed her employment had been withdrawn.
‘I was meant to start my new job as Easyjet Cabin Crew on Monday but I’ve just been told my employment has been withdrawn due tot he corona virus,’ she wrote.
‘Does anyone know of any jobs in West Lothian, Edinburgh or Fife?’
A reporter for The Times detailed how she was trying to dissuade her chef flatmate, who had been ill, from going into work. ‘My flatmates have all been ill, and under new gov advice will have to stay home.
‘One is feeling better and I’m trying to dissuade her from going back to work as a chef tomorrow. The catch? £18 a day sick pay if she stays home. Not enough to live on in London,’ she said.
Another person said she was ‘officially panicking’ following the announcement of job cuts by British Airways.
A zero-hour contractor took to Twitter to announce they had been left ‘essentially unemployed’ after their work closed indefinitely.
Another commented: ‘Coronavirus and self employment where it’s your only source of income don’t mix well.’
One woman said the virus’s impact on wineries and the tourism industries has ‘crushed’ any income she was going to make this month ‘and possibly next month’, alongside the hashtag ‘#cantaffordthis’.
Heathrow saw a 4.8 per cent year-on-year decline in passenger numbers in February due to coronavirus, raising more concerns over job losses.
And in the UK alone there are fears an estimated 1.5million self-employed and gig economy workers could face financial ruin because of the deadly disease.
Some delivering food, parcels or working in cafes, restaurants may avoid self-isolating if they have coronavirus symptoms because they fear going unpaid, unions have warned.
Some delivering food, parcels or working in cafes, restaurants may avoid self-isolating if they have coronavirus symptoms because they fear going unpaid, unions have warned
People on zero-hours contracts and other casual workers risk losing income and missing out on sick pay if they stay at home for the recommended two-week period.
More than 4.7million people – or one in ten working-age adults – work in the gig economy, according to research published by the Trade Union Congress.
And Citizen’s Advice say that 1.5million of them – around one in three – don’t qualify for sick pay.
It came as ministers warned that coronavirus could push more people into poverty unless the UK and Scottish governments protect low earners
The GMB union revealed the case of a delivery driver who was forced to stay off work, unpaid, after coming in to contact with a customer considered to be high-risk.