EasyJet is set to cut thousands of jobs as the coronavirus pandemic has threatened business losses amid recession in the travel industry worldwide. The airline is pondering over restructuring its business and reducing its capacity by a third.

The company, a low-cost carrier, is the latest airline to lay off staff as the whole industry takes a beating from the pathogen. EasyJet said that it will cut down staff numbers by almost 30 percent to cope with a lower demand due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Almost 4,500 to Lose Jobs

The company employs 15,000 people as per its 2019 annual report. This suggests that almost 4,500 jobs would be cut. It will begin an employee consultation on the cuts in the coming days, reports said Thursday. Rival carrier Ryanair had previously announced more than 3,000 job losses.

United Airlines
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Johan Lundgren, EasyJet's chief executive said: "We realise that these are very difficult times and we are having to consider very difficult decisions which will impact our people, but we want to protect as many jobs as we can for the long-term."

With this background the company plans to reduce the size of its fleet, while optimizing its network and bases. "We will continue to remove cost and non-critical expenditure at every level," Lundgren added.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) had estimated that demand for air travel will not return to pre-virus levels until 2023. However, EasyJet said it does not go with that estimate.

Difficult Times for all Airlines

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Economy Down (Representational Picture) Pixabay

The company witnessed bad times in the previous weeks as it saw off a shareholder vote and ousted its management team, while losing its finance chief. A "highly sophisticated" cyber attack also hit the company recently.

Last week, the company said that its planes would resume flying from June 15, with a small number of flights.

EasyJet's rivals such as British Airways and Ryanair Holdings Plc is also planning combined layoffs of almost 15,000 workers. SAS AB said on Thursday that it will cut 5,000 jobs and might need more state aid, reports Bloomberg

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA is expected to run out of cash in the third quarter. Deutsche Lufthansa AG has been struggling for $10 billion bailout.