260 jobs under threat as travel firms feel lockdown heat

Two West Midlands travel firms look set to axe almost 260 jobs as the aftermath of the Covid-19 lockdown begins to be felt in the sector.

A Coventry transport company has been forced into administration after its business collapsed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Travel de Courcey, based in Coventry, is the largest privately-owned bus and coach company in the Midlands and operates a network of services across the area including to hospitals, schools, the Ricoh Arena and the NEC.

The 48-year-old company, which employs around 180 staff, took the decision after a dramatic decline in passenger numbers and income.

Meanwhile, Warwickshire firm, Johnsons Coaches, says it is looking to slash 78 roles after a similar fall in passenger numbers.

The firm, which has been running for 110-years, has not operated a holiday since March, according to BBC report.

John Johnson said the situation is “horrendous” and that the firm could not afford to wait until the furlough scheme ends in October to take action.

Adrian de Courcey, CEO and son of Travel de Courcey founder, Mike, said: “Travel de Courcey, like every company in our industry sector, has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.

“We have assessed all aspects of our business going forward and it is clear that, due to the reduction in our services and vastly reduced passenger numbers, we have had no alternative but enter into the administration process.

“This move is very much a last resort brought on by global circumstances beyond our control. We saw a huge and sudden collapse of business at the start of the lockdown and it has not improved sufficiently for us to be a going concern.

“For example, we operate a service from Coventry to Leicester and on many days, it has run without any passengers at all.

“It is perfectly understandable that people have been very cautious about public transport and many of those who have returned to work have taken alternative forms of transport.

“Travel de Courcey is a family-owned and run company which has always valued the dedication and loyalty of its staff. We have been consulting with colleagues and it has been very hard for everyone.

“The company has been a huge part of my own family’s life and we are immensely proud of the contributions and achievements of all our employees over many years. Our thoughts are with all our colleagues, customers, suppliers and the local communities we serve. It is a deeply sad day.”

Travel de Courcey received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2017.  The company was also the first in the UK to operate fast-charging electric buses.

Matt Hardy of insolvency practitioners Poppleton & Appleby has been appointed as joint administrator.