Scandinavian airline SAS AB will temporarily lay off up to 10,000 employees, or 90% of its workforce, in response to the fallout from the coronavirus and related measures from authorities that have restricted international air travel.
“It is important to say that we do not intend this to lead to permanent layoffs,” said the company’s chief executive officer Rickard Gustafson at a press conference in Stockholm on Sunday. The reductions will be implemented through all parts of the organization and in accordance with national regulations.
The airline will also cancel most of its flights from March 16, according to a statement on Sunday. SAS said it will maintain certain routes in order to enable flights to return from various destinations. The company will be at the disposal of authorities to take home stranded citizens or maintain infrastructure that’s important to society, it said.
On Saturday Sweden’s foreign ministry said non-essential travel should be avoided because of the vast spread of the novel coronavirus and the “rapidly changing and uncertain situation.” This recommendation covers the period through April 14.