Airlines top debt table for unpaid Covid loans

Airlines and travel companies responsible for almost three-quarters of outstanding emergency Covid loans yet to be repaid to Government










Airlines and travel companies are responsible for almost three-quarters of the outstanding emergency Covid loans yet to be repaid to the Government. 

Bank of England figures show travel businesses and firms that rely on overseas tourism make up nine of the 17 companies with money still on loan from a scheme run by the Bank and the Treasury. 

The nine firms account for just under £2.4billion of debt, or 70 per cent of the total £3.4billion outstanding on the Covid Corporate Financing Facility scheme. 

Struggle: Bank of England figures show travel businesses and firms that rely on overseas tourism make up nine of the 17 companies with money still on loan from the scheme

Ryanair, easyJet, Wizz Air and Jet2 still owe a combined £1.4billion under the CCFF, which was launched to help Britain’s biggest firms survive the pandemic. 

Airport retailer SSP – owner of the Upper Crust and Ritazza café chains – owes £300million. Gatwick Airport has a £275million loan and long-haul holiday operator Flight Centre owes £115million. 

Travel industry bosses have blamed the Government’s ‘chaotic’ traffic light rules for stifling their recovery while European airlines recover faster. 

Last week, the Government took 47 countries off the red list and said the US is on track to lift its travel ban to the UK by early November. 

Jet2 said holiday bookings doubled in the 24 hours after the red list was cut on Thursday. Chief executive Steve Heapy said: ‘Customers clearly view this as the genuine reopening of international travel.’ 

Meanwhile, the number of Atol-licensed package holiday firms that can offer flights as part of their deals has fallen 10 per cent, down to 1,133 from 1,261 last September. 

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