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British Airways is set to suspend 36,000 jobs, the BBC reported Wednesday, though talks with U.K. trade union Unite are still ongoing.
The flagship U.K. airline has reportedly reached an agreement with Unite that entails suspending 80% of its cabin crew, engineers, ground staff and head office employees. Staff are not expected to be made redundant, the news agency said. British Airways suspended all of its London Gatwick flights this week.
The news comes amid the worsening coronavirus crisis, which has halted the majority of passenger travel globally and delivered a crippling blow to the airline industry. Many major airlines have slashed up to 90% of their operations and some have grounded their entire fleets.
Airline trade groups have warned that without rescue funds, huge numbers of staff are at risk of losing their jobs. The global air transport sector supported some 65 million jobs last year, according to the Air Transport Action Group.
The aviation sector is one of the worst-hit as economic activity plunges and countries impose lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.