TRAVEL agent Hays Travel has announced it will have to cut 880 jobs due to the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Business owners John and Irene Hays say the company is facing the worst financial and business crisis in its 40-year history.

In October 2019, Hays Travel took on 2,000 extra staff and bought hundreds of Thomas Cook stores after the company collapsed.

However, on Thursday 12 March, the company asked staff to take voluntary leave or reduce their hours as thousands of people cancel holiday plans due to fears of catching or spreading the virus.

It is not clear how many jobs will be cut at the travel agent's stores in Hexham and Prudhoe.