Tuesday, 31 March 2020

TUI UK completes its mammoth repatriation programme and furloughs 11,000 UK based staff

The arrival of 265 TUI UK passengers at Birmingham Airport from Cancun on Sunday marked the end of a mammoth repatriation programme mounted by the travel company in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic. The long haul flight was the final part of a finely orchestrated operation bringing the last of 45,000 TUI UK holidaymakers home.

The complex process was planned as government and local authority advice changed and countries closed their borders. And as well as returning TUI customers, hundreds more holidaymakers, unable to get home with the airlines they had travelled with, were repatriated by TUI from destinations including Goa, Jamaica, Turkey, Spain and Marrakech.

The flights could not have been operated without the efforts of 964 TUI cabin crew and 362 flight crew team members, who put in over 11,000 flying hours to get customers home. The repatriation effort was supported on the ground by over 2,500 TUI destination reps overseas who were on hand to help customers as they waited in their hotels and resorts before.

In the last ten days 192 TUI airways flights have taken off from 30 overseas airports in destinations across the world from Spain, Turkey and Greece to Mexico, Costa Rica and Thailand, bringing customers and 320 overseas destination reps back to 16 UK airports.

58 TUI aircraft will be based at key UK airports including, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Doncaster, Newcastle, East Midlands and Bristol until they take to the skies again.

Now customers are home, TUI is supporting the extraordinary repatriation programme announced by the Government yesterday with aircraft and crew deployed to bring Brits back from a range of destinations, including a rescue flight from Tunis departing today.

Andrew Flintham, Managing Director of TUI UK commented “I don’t think anyone could have imagined just a few months ago that we would be where we are today. We have dealt with the largest repatriation operation our business has ever seen, bringing 45,000 of our own customers, and hundreds of other holidaymakers, back from overseas, and now our operation, and the entire, travel industry is temporarily ‘on pause’.

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who played their part in getting our customers home as safely and as quickly as possible. And to our customers, for their patience and understanding. It is an unpredictable time but one thing I can say for certain is that when it’s safe to do so, and people want to travel again, we’ll be ready to take them on holiday”.

11,000 staff to be furloughed this week.

The company has confirmed it will now furlough most of its UK based staff as the bulk of its work is now completed. The firm employs around 13,200 people in the UK and around 11,000 of those will be s will be furloughed from Wednesday.  This is made up of 6,545 from pilots, cabin crew, retail and head office roles whilst another 4,455 staff would come from its travel agency side as most of these outlets are now closed. s

A very small number of people will be deployed to work from home as part of a virtual call centre  "We will have a small number of team members working as a virtual call centre to support our other contact centres – and we will still have team members who support third party suppliers and agents working." a spokesperson for the company said. 

Andrew Flintham said: "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. We are a fantastic business and we look forward to taking people on holiday again soon."

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