Billy Get A Grip's younger sister Tracee is spending a month with the NTI Newsroom team on work placement and popped in this morning on her way to Pilates In The Park to show us a report from an Australian newspaper on her phone. Qantas, the Australian national airline, has announced plans to cut 6,000 jobs and keep 15,000 more employees on extended furlough. For those desperate to rescue their summers hearing homegrown phrases such as 'the Bottle-o' (an establishment purveying libations) and 'fair suck of the sauce bottle' (give a chap a chance) it may be a long wait to do so in situ, with the airline grounding more than 100 aircraft for a year or more and the Australian Government saying its borders will most likely remain closed into next year. Tracee is beside herself. She isn't afraid to ask the big questions, such as, "what about I'm A Celebrity? Will Stormzy still be able to get to the jungle?"
One big question about Australia that has been answered this week is that concerning Virgin Australia who, after two months in 'bankruptcy proceedings', have been bought by Bain Capital who played a ripsnorter and bought out all of their debt. The airline hopes to fly again by September. Less good news for Mexicans, though, whose biggest national airline Aeromexico have filed for bankruptcy protection.
Meanwhile Emirates' British CEO Tim Clark spoke to The Sunday Times last week hailing the fact that for the first time since lockdown Britons will board an Emirates plane at Heathrow on Monday (6 July) - Billy thinks it is flying to Leeds-Bradford, but we have checked and it looks like its destination may be Dubai, where passengers will be greeted by a Covid-19 test on arrival before being allowed to run to the beaches (they had better take a hat as the forecast for Dubai on Monday is 39 degrees and sunny). Sir Tim said that Dubai International Airport's two runways which normally handle 7.5 million passengers a month dealt with only 500,000 in June and the airline have grounded all of their 115 Airbus 380 (double decker) jets, with most of its 777s (also big, but disgracefully only sporting one deck) being mothballed. "We've got £40bn of assets, 22,000 cabin crew and 4,500 pilots not gainfully employed. We'll be lucky if we carry half the passengers this year that we carried in 2019."
Meanwhile back home in the UK its not just casual dining that is taking a hit. For those who like their napkins more linen than recycled and who are prepared to take an iron to their favourite t-shirt, Michelle, NTI's Technical Queen, is reportedly beside herself. Her favoured up-market India restaurant in London, Veerswamy, is looking for a bailout, whilst Administrators recently seized assets from Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant The Square during the lunch service (how rude). Japanese restaurant Umu, our preferred option for live Icelandic sea urchin off Berkeley Square, is in Administration. Where has a girl got to go to get lunch in the capital? Maybe not Pret a Manger which, it was reported on Friday, may not re-open at least one in ten of their outlets now we are able to buy a crayfish salad again. That leaves only 14 Pret a Mangers down our road ... how will we cope?