Flight Centre boss’s new demands after $475m loss



Flight Centre boss Graham 'Skroo' Turner has demanded the government reveal its strategy to recover from COVID-19 as his global travel business records a $475m loss.

The Queensland travel giant released its preliminary results for the year on Thursday, revealing it has at least 22 months liquidity.

It expects to deliver a COVID-19 driven loss of between $475m and $525m compared to a $343m profit a year ago.

Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner is calling for COVID recovery strategy. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner is calling for COVID recovery strategy. Picture: Liam Kidston.

The industry giant also noted more than $500m in travel refunds had been issued in Australia alone since the pandemic started.

Mr Turner, whose personal fortune has been smashed by Flight Centre's tumbling share price, said the pandemic had crippled his industry.

"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," he said.

"This has severely impacted us and our people and some very tough decisions have been made over the past four or five months."

Mr Turner previously told The Courier Mail up to 14,000 Flight Centre staff could remain stood down for months to come if travel demand doesn't return.

About 70 per cent of the workforce have been stood down or their roles made redundant.

He said the state and federal government needed to outline a plan to recover from the virus.

"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."

Mr Turner said despite ongoing restrictions, Flight Centre revenue had started to increase, particularly in Europe.

Flight Centre shares have opened higher.

Originally published as Flight Centre boss's new demands after $475m loss