Flight Centre has recorded an annual loss of between $475 million and $525 million as the effects of Covid-19 on the travel industry are laid bare.
The startling loss this year compares to a $343 million profit a year ago.
More than $500 million in travel refunds had been issued in Australia by the travel giant since the pandemic started.
“COVID-19 and, specifically, the government responses to it have clearly had devastating impacts on businesses worldwide and on the airline, travel, tourism and hospitality industries in particular,” Flight Centre boss Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner told The Courier Mail.
“This has severely impacted us and our people and some very tough decisions have been made over the past four or five months.”
With 70 per cent of Flight Centre’s workforce stood down or made redundant, Turner said it was vital the government outlined a recovery plan for the sector.
“It is critical that businesses across all sectors know these objectives and data lines for COVID-19 control and the lifting of restrictions – whether the end goal is community immunity, suppression, eradication or learning to live with this virus,” he said.
“Learning to live with the virus involves protecting the vulnerable, particularly the elderly, while ramping up testing, contact tracing and ultimately isolation so we don‘t overwhelm intensive care units.
“Adopting this approach, while continuing to take sensible health precautions, flattening the curve and getting society and business back to a reasonable level of normality must be priorities to reduce the already dire economic outcomes being experienced.”