The boss of British Airways (BA) has warned that the coronavirus pandemic will have a bigger impact on the airline industry than the financial crisis.
BA chief executive Alex Cruz reportedly told staff that the outbreak is a “crisis of global proportions like no other we have known”.
The spread of Covid-19 will force the airline to cut jobs, suspend routes and ground aircraft, Cruz said.
In a video message he said that BA is more financially resilient than ever and has a robust balance sheet, but warned staff not to “underestimate the seriousness of this for our company,” according to Sky News.
“We have to react fast and definitively in response to the worsening situation,” he said.
Airlines have already been battered by the outbreak of coronavirus as governments restrict travel to stop the spread of the illness.
Regional airline Flybe, which had been struggling for months, was tipped over the edge by the coronavirus outbreak and collapsed earlier this month.
Norwegian Air suspended more than 4,000 flights earlier this week, grounding 40 per cent of its long haul capacity, after US president Donald Trump banned travel from 26 EU countries.
The beleagured company has also cancelled 25 per cent of its short haul flights until the end of May and has temporarily laid off 50 per cent of its staff.