CORONAVIRUS has brought chaos to the travel industry with one UK airline already going under because of the pandemic, and now easyJet is warning that the government needs to bailout companies or some will go bankrupt.
But what would it mean for holidaymakers if a UK airline did go bankrupt?
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If a large carrier folds, Brits will see far less choice in where they are able to go on holiday.
Currently, we have one of the biggest selections of flight routes in the world, serving hundreds of destinations.
But Paul Charles, an aviation expert and head of the travel consultancy The PC Agency, told Sun Online Travel that choice is at risk in the current climate.
He said: "Fundamentally, the airline industry is on its knees and until uncertainty over coronavirus ends it won't recover.
"There are some airlines which have much stronger positions around the world than others – with more cash in bank – like IAG, Finnair and Wizz Air, and then there are some airlines that don't.
"But everyone is struggling and I don't think the government has enough money to support all of them, so the question is whether they would be willing to sacrifice some well known brands in order to protect the industry generally."
In return for bailing out one sole airline, Paul believes that the government may choose to nationalise it – or at least buy a stake in it like they did with Northern Rock after the 2008 financial crisis.
But with other airlines failing, that will inevitably mean less choice for consumers just like Flybe's departure has led to far less domestic flights operating within the UK.
He said: "There will be less choice for consumers. The choice for us will be curtailed anyway because some airlines will go under globally too, but what happens to Brits directly depends on what bailout the government decides for the UK airline industry."
There is one thing to look forward to at the end of all this though – as we come out of the pandemic, holidaymakers can expect to see some incredible deals.
He said: "At the moment I think it’s far from people’s minds. They want to hunker down and make sure the people they love are safe.
"But it will come, it will bounce back and the silver lining is that there will be great deals at some point – when the confidence returns and airlines can start flying again, they will have terrific deals on offer for consumers."
Earlier this week, the boss of EasyJet Johan Lundgren told ITV that businesses would sink without aid.
He said: "If we don't get sufficient levels of support from the government and this continues for that period of time, the aviation industry will not be intact."
When asked by Mr Peston to clarify what he meant, he said: "It will not be the way we look at it today… Businesses will go bankrupt long before a year from now unless there is support in there."
Johan Lundgren said the airline has so far cancelled 14,000 flights this month as the virus continues to spread.
His warning came as Ryanair announced it would cancel more than four out of five flights until March 24 with an exception for "essential connectivity" journeys, then ground all flights next week.
Airline Jet2.com has suspended all of its flights until next month.
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