Scandinavian airline SAS said Tuesday it would lay off up to 5,000 employees as the new coronavirus pandemic has wiped out demand for air travel which would not return to normal for "some years".
The 5,000 jobs represent about 40 percent of SAS' workforce, chief executive Rickard Gustafson told news agency TT.
"Given the current (travel) restrictions, SAS expects limited activity in the important summer season. In addition, it will most likely take some years before demand returns to the levels seen before COVID-19," the company said in a statement.
Gustafson told TT he believed demand would gradually resume but would not return to pre-coronacrisis levels "until 2022".
SAS, which furloughed around 90 percent of its staff in mid-March, said it would begin processes to cut around 1,900 full-time positions in Sweden, 1,300 in Norway and 1,700 in Denmark.
Sweden and Denmark, SAS' two largest shareholders, announced on March 17 they would provide more than 275 million euros in credit guarantees to protect SAS from the economic impact of the crisis.
The airline said Tuesday it was currently operating only "a very limited domestic network in Norway and Sweden".