As the travel industry continues to suffer the full force of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, publicly-listed travel agency Flight Centre Travel Group has accelerated an urgent business review, a move ultimately impacting relationships with its IT contractors.
“As part of the review, [Flight Centre] will hold further discussions with stakeholders including landlords, suppliers, vendors, insurers, and banks on ways to manage the financial impact of a precipitous drop in travel activity in the near-term,” the company said in a statement.
“[Flight Centre] is in active discussions with its people at all levels. Within this challenging trading cycle, the company will seek to preserve as many roles as possible but job losses across the industry and within the company are inevitable," it added.
ARN understands one of the IT consultancy firms to have been impacted by the decision is Brisbane-based Focus Professional Services.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the travel agency group has dismissed an undisclosed number of contractors, including members of its contract IT contingent.
Last week, the company announced a recruitment freeze and deferral of non-essential projects.
The move comes as organisations globally are feeling the impact of COVID-19, particularly as countries continue to impose further restrictions to contain the pandemic.
The Philippines and Malaysia have been some of the latest countries to impose lockdowns, with Manila operating as a call centre hot spot for many companies.
Cloud distributor, Rhipe is one example of a tech company that offers support services for its vendors from Manila, and will be supporting its workers to work from home amid the lockdown.
“Perhaps one of the barriers will be the speed of the internet in some people's homes,” Rhipe CEO Dominic O’Hanlon said. “But we're in the middle of this right now, so our key project is figuring out, of all of our 180 staff in Manila, who's got fast enough networks at home who's got the technology that they need to be able to do their job.
“And at this stage, we don't have a firm answer. But the good news is, it's looking positive, that we'll be able to get a good percentage of our workforce working remotely and quickly.”
A majority of publicly listed entities have also warned of the dire business environment that lies ahead and are withdrawing their earnings guidance.
Health and tech distributor, Hills recently highlighted its intentions to reduce its operating expenses and monitor cash flows to manage any declines in customer demand for its products and services.