KLM says it will cut 800 to 1,000 more jobs

22 Jan 2021 / 00:55 H.

THE HAGUE: Dutch airline KLM said on Thursday it will shed between 800 and 1,000 more jobs as the coronavirus pandemic is hitting the aviation sector for longer than expected.

The job losses come on top of 5,000 layoffs that were already announced in July by the embattled carrier, which is part of the Air France-KLM group.

"The reality is that the recovery is taking considerably longer than expected, especially for long-haul destinations, partly due to ongoing and new international restrictions and travel restrictions," KLM said in a statement.

"This means that KLM will have to cut another 800 to 1,000 jobs."

The jobs cover 500 cabin crew, 100 flight crew and between 200 and 400 ground crew.

KLM CEO Pieter Elbers said recent restrictions announced by the Dutch government on flights to the Netherlands had "added to" the airline's problems but were not the direct cause of the new job cuts.

The measures include a ban on flights to the Netherlands from Britain, South Africa and South America.

Dutch media said KLM was also being forced to cut some long-haul routes because extra coronavirus tests for travellers announced by the government would make it difficult to move crew around.

"This reduction is independent of the new measures taken by the cabinet in the past 48 hours," Elbers said.

"The new measures are exemplary of the restrictions and dynamics that we have faced worldwide since the outbreak of the pandemic."

KLM has made huge losses despite being granted a €3.4 billion (RM16.6 billion) Dutch government bailout last year. Pilots agreed to a five-year pay cut deal in November to unblock the deal.

In another development, Lufthansa is losing €1 million every two hours, "a significant improvement" over the low point of the Covid-19 crisis, the German airline group's chief executive said on Thursday.

Lufthansa, which was racking up losses at twice that rate at one point last year, has cut costs and pared back flights to those generating positive cash thanks to buoyant cargo rates, CEO Carsten Spohr said in a webcast interview hosted by Eurocontrol.

The group last year received a €9 billion bailout in which the German government took a 20% stake. Lufthansa has so far used about €3 billion of its cash injection, Spohr said, and may end up not needing the full amount.

The airline is still hoping for a strong travel recovery from the northern summer onwards, Spohr added, and expects to run at 40-60% of pre-crisis capacity for the year as a whole. – AFP, Reuters

The Dutch airline’s latest job cuts cover 500 cabin crew, 100 flight crew and between 200 and 400 ground crew. – AFPPIX

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