KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL, Amsterdam Schiphol) is cutting up to 1,000 more jobs as the airline is forced to downsize further while the airline industry struggles to recover because of new travel restrictions around COVID-19.

The Dutch wing of Air France-KLM in July 2020 already shed 5,000 jobs, based on the premise that air traffic would begin to recover in 2021. “However, KLM has repeatedly warned that this recovery might be delayed, which means a downgrading of the scenario and consequently the loss of more jobs. The current reality is that the recovery of long-haul traffic will be delayed longer than anticipated, primarily due to existing and new international measures and travel restrictions,” the airline said in a statement.

It said a further 800 to 1,000 employees would have to go, including 500 cabin crew, 100 flightcrew, and 200 to 400 ground crew, bringing the total number of job losses at KLM to close on 6,000, the carrier said.

Chief Executive Officer Pieter Elbers said the further downsizing did not yet encompass the latest travel restrictions announced by the Dutch government earlier this week. “The impact of the latest measures will become evident in due course,” he said. KLM temporarily suspends 270 weekly long-haul flights from midnight on January 22, 2021, after the government imposed a travel ban on flights from 17 countries in South America, Africa, and the United Kingdom, in an effort to prevent the spread of new strains of COVID-19. “Even if our crew members are exempt from the new regulations, the further loss of jobs will regrettably be inevitable,“ Elbers said.

He said various instruments were made available as part of a social plan to employees who were laid off last year, following intensive consultation and cooperation with all social partners. “These adjustments were very painful but successful. I have every faith we will resolve these new challenges together once more,” he said.

Meanwhile, the French government this week said it would continue to support Air France (AF, Paris CDG) in the coming months. "If Air France needs additional financial support from the state, it will get it,” Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on January 20, 2021, on BFM Business TV. “We provided support to Air France. The situation remains extremely difficult in air transport and we will continue to support Air France in the months to come,” he said.

Le Maire also specified that this process should obtain "the approval of the European Commission" to be carried out "in compliance with European rules". In exchange for this aid, the state demanded two things from the airline: to gain competitiveness as taxpayers' money should not be wasted, and to become an environmentally sustainable company.

The Minister said helping Air France was also an issue of sovereignty. “France must have an airline, it is an element of sovereignty. When there are crises, it is an essential element," he said.

Air France in April 2020 already received state aid totaling EUR7 billion euros (USD8.5 billion).