KLM chief says more job cuts expected if COVID crisis persists

FILE PHOTO: A HOP! for AIRFRANCE Embraer 170 aircraft is parked on the tarmac at Lille-Lesquin Airport following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Lesquin, France, May 7, 2020. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - KLM, the Dutch arm of airline group Air France-KLM AIRF.PA, will likely have to cut more jobs than the thousands of layoffs already announced due to the coronavirus pandemic, its chief executive Pieter Elbers said in a message to his staff.

Elbers warned that COVID-19 will limit flights more extensively than the 20-25% drop it had anticipated for next year.

“We now expect even lower production, which ultimately means we need fewer people”, Elbers said in his message, seen by Reuters.

“Another 10% drop in production (so 30-35% down from 2019) would mean around another 1,500 jobs less.”

KLM on Thursday submitted a restructuring plan to the Dutch state, a condition of the 3.4 billion euros (3.10 billion pounds) package in aid it is receiving to avoid bankruptcy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

KLM said it would cut costs by 15%, as well as reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50% by 2030. KLM is cutting its workforce by 20%, including 4,500 jobs this year.

Reporting by Bart Meijer, editing by Louise Heavens