LOW-COST British airline Flybe has collapsed with the loss of 2,000 jobs. The pilots union BALPA has put the blame squarely on the Tory government for refusing to bail Flybe out, despite promising to do so.
The GMB union has now warned of a ‘domino effect’ putting ‘1,400 jobs in the wider supply chain at immediate risk and threatening the future of vital regional airports’. GMB warned eight regional airports now face closure in the wake of the Flybe collapse.
Between them, the airports directly employ at least 1,000 people. Those direct jobs support at least a further 794 jobs in the supply chain. The eight airports are at risk because more than 50% of their scheduled departures in 2019 were Flybe aircraft.
And the collapse of Flybe is just the beginning.
On Thursday, a global airline industry body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned the financial hit from coronavirus will reach as much as $113bn (£87bn) this year.
James Goodall, transport analyst at Redburn, said that Flybe’s collapse ‘will likely be the first of many in 2020. We expect that the demand destruction caused by Covid-19 accelerated its demise and we believe further airline bankruptcies should be expected in the coming months.’
Demand has plummeted, not just from holidaymakers, but from corporate travel as firms restrict business trips for employees and conferences are postponed, hitting an industry which is already reeling from the financial crisis.
Emirates airline, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), has cancelled flights to Iran, Bahrain and to most of China because of the virus. Emirates has told its workers to take unpaid leave for up to one month!
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific has also asked staff to take unpaid leave … for three weeks! Cathay Pacific also said it was closing its cabin crew base in Vancouver, Canada, laying off 147 crew members.
The aviation industry was already grappling with the worldwide grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max, which has been out of service for a year after two deadly crashes that killed 346 people. The US aviation giant lost $636 million in 2019.
And of course the aviation sector is just part of the picture. The entire world banking system has been rocked by coronavirus.
The Dow Jones suffered its biggest one day loss in history, plummeting 1,191 points at the end of last month wiping billions off share prices. This crash eclipsed the last biggest single day fall, which took place in September 2008 at the height of the global crash when it fell 777.68 points.
The entire capitalist system has been floating on a sea of debt, masquerading as real value. Now it is going under!
An unforeseen catastrophe, like the emergence and rapid spread of the coronavirus, paralysing China, the workshop of the world, has exposed the complete bankruptcy of the world capitalist system and strained it to breaking point.
There is now a massive panic and a huge scramble as the gamblers and spivs of the banks and stock exchanges dump their toxic debt for gold, the price of which is now soaring as the vultures seek ‘value’.
It is often said about the world economy that when America sneezes the world catches a cold.
The world, led by the USA, has now caught coronavirus. The world’s workshop, China, has been paralysed, and amongst the first to go under have been the motor and air transport industries.
The world capitalist economy is being brought to a halt and is much sicker than the sickest coronavirus patient. This is the historic debacle that the private ownership of the means of production has brought humanity to!
There is only one way out of what is the death agony of the capitalist system. The working class of the world must mobilise and build sections of the Fourth International to lead the masses to overthrow the capitalists and their dog-eat-dog system, and replace it with a worldwide socialist planned economy where the working class is the master.
Once the working class has overthrown the capitalists and the imperialist powers, the situation will be wide open for Russian and Chinese workers to bring the Stalinist bureaucrats down with political revolutions to restore rule through workers soviets.
This is the only way! Forward to the victory of the world socialist revolution!