KLM CEO Pieter Elbers announced that 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.
“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 statement.
“We could see a scenario like Italy, in which the whole system shuts down.”
KLM is also rapidly phasing out its six remaining Boeing 747 aircraft, which seat over 400 people. The planes will stop flying as of April, eight months faster than previously planned.
“The impact of the corona virus on aviation and KLM is enormous and the situation is constantly changing and deteriorating. With the latest developments in the US, we have entered a crisis of unprecedented magnitude, and it is clear that KLM must take drastic measures to deal with this exceptional situation,” the airline said in a statement.
These measures are in addition to what it already announced, like a hiring and training freeze, and delaying major IT and commercial real estate. It has also halted most of its company business travel and outside consultancy work.
It will also reduce its investments by up to 400 million euros, and will implement further cost savings of up to 100 million euros, KLM said. It is also launching several initiatives to secure more financing if necessary, it said.