KLM will slash up to 2,000 jobs and request government support as it reduces working hours by one-third for its entire staff amid the global coronavirus outbreak.
CEO Pieter Elbers said on Friday (local time) the company, the Dutch subsidiary of Air France-KLM, will cut 1,500-2,000 jobs and scrap 30 per cent or more of all flights in the second quarter of 2020.
KLM has a workforce of 35,000.
“With all the uncertainty and a growing number of countries closing their air space, I don’t know whether the scenario of a 30 per cent or 40 per cent decline (in flights) might not be too optimistic,” he said in a videotaped statement.
“We could see a scenario like Italy, in which the whole system shuts down.”
Airlines around the world are grappling with the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimating global costs would exceed $US100 billion ($162 billion).
KLM’s measures come as it faces government-imposed restrictions on flying to the United States, China and Italy. Details of Friday’s plan were first reported by Dutch broadcaster RTL.
The company will scrap current training courses and no bonuses will be paid to executives for the time being. The Boeing 747 will be phased out a year earlier than had been planned.
Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said the government is ready to support KLM and the Dutch aviation industry.