City centre shop closes, blaming the coronavirus pandemic

The notice in the Flight Centre window on Parliament Street. Photographs: Richard McDougall
9 Aug 2020 @ 6.18 pm
| Business

Another York city centre business has closed for good due to the Covid-19 outbreak and its aftermath.

Flight Centre, the travel agent, has shut up shop on Parliament Street.

The Australian based firm opened the premises in summer 2018.

With so much of the globe locked down due to the pandemic, the firm, specialising in tailor-made holidays to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Asia and the United States, has been hit hard.

A notice in the window says: “As a result of Covid-19 and the enduring crisis that the travel industry is facing, we’ve had to make some tough decisions.

“Sadly, one of those is to close this shop.”

It says customers can keep in contact via the phone number and website.

‘No product to sell’

Empty: the Flight Centre

Flight Centre’s founder and managing director, Graham Turner, told Australian radio last month: “Our main problem we’ve got is we don’t have any product to sell.”

As a result the company had to reduce its staff from 22,000 to 5,000.

Flight Centre is replacing many of its UK shops with a virtual network of travel consultants.

It said it was “having to consider making some very difficult business decisions”, and began consultation with its workforce over restructure proposals.

In a statement the company said: “The focus is to maintain a strong concentrated presence of stores in the South East, however, we are working on both a virtual network of consultants and an ‘associates’ model to those consultants operating in regions without a store, which will allow a new flexible working model for them and enable them to maintain their strong relationships with our customers.”