British Airways to cut jobs over coronavirus: CEO

British Airways to cut jobs over coronavirus: CEO

British Airways. (AFP Photo)

British Airways will cut jobs after the coronavirus pandemic devastated demand for global air travel, its chief executive Alex Cruz said Friday.

"To be frank, given the changing circumstances, we can no longer sustain our current level of employment and jobs will be lost -- perhaps for a short period, perhaps longer term," Cruz said in an internal memo confirmed by the group.

Global airlines have cancelled thousands of flights worldwide, as COVID-19 decimates demand for passenger travel, with destinations to China and Italy in particularly hit hard.

The aviation industry is struggling with the severe impact of the pandemic, which has so far infected more than 134,300 people globally and killed over 5,000, according to an AFP tally.

In a further blow this week, US President Donald Trump announced a shock 30-day ban on travel from mainland Europe over coronavirus.

The global aviation association on Thursday warned that the US-imposed trans-Atlantic travel ban would further hurt an industry already hard-hit by the crisis, insisting airlines needed "emergency measures" to get through.

The move "will create enormous cash-flow pressures for airlines," Alexandre de Juniac, head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), warned in a statement. 

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