The boss of IAG, the owner of British Airways, has said that the coronavirus pandemic has hit the company harder than anything before.
IAG reported a loss of around £3.8 billion in the first part of the year. It is believed passenger levels will not recover until 2023 at earliest.
Willie Walsh said that: "These are extreme times. BA has lost more in a quarter than a record loss for a year.”
In the April-June period, passenger numbers fell by 98 per cent as a result of which, the airline is planning to cut jobs. Current loses for BA far eclipse those of both the aftermath of 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis.
Prior to the pandemic, BA employed around 45,000 staff. More than half of these have been placed on furlough. Earlier in the year, the employer announced plans to cut up to one third of these jobs. They have been threatened with strike action by staff whose jobs are under threat.
Walsh responded to the claims of job cuts, saying that: "We are in consultation with the trade unions. We want them to work with us to try to mitigate the measures that we have to take.
"That figure of 12,000 is the maximum that would be required I'm would hope that it will be significantly lower than that."
He concluded: "The industry will recover from this crisis, though we do not expect this to be before 2023, and there will be opportunities for IAG to capitalise on its strength and leadership positions."
IAG, who also own Aer Ingus and Iberia, have announced plans to raise around €2.75 billion, and have indicated support from main shareholder Qatar Airways.