Japan's biggest airline ANA Holdings on Tuesday forecast a record $4.87 billion net loss for this financial year and announced a major restructuring as the pandemic hammers the global aviation industry.
The company said its first-half net loss came to 188.4 billion yen ($1.8 billion) -- a sharp fall from the 56.7 billion yen in profit it logged during the same April-September period last year.
"There has been a significant decline in passenger demand, which has been severely affected by the immigration restrictions around the world and the voluntary restraints on movement within Japan that have accompanied the spread of Covid-19," ANA said in a statement.
"While demand is gradually recovering in the second half, it is not expected to return to the level of the previous year," it added.
Revenue plunged 72 percent to 291.8 billion yen for the six months.
ANA predicted a record net loss of 510 billion yen ($4.87 billion) for the fiscal year to March 2021, compared with 27.6 billion yen in net profit the previous year.
"This year's financial results are expected to be very tough," CEO Shinya Katanozaka told reporters.
"Of course we won't give up for this fiscal year, and we will continue to make efforts to increase revenue and profits," he added.
"We want to move into the black next year at any cost by doing everything we can."
Local media reported that the company plans to slash 3,500 jobs through a hiring freeze, while the CEO pledged to "protect the jobs of 46,000 employees".
ANA had already announced it would halt recruiting for next year. About 3,000 workers reportedly retire every year.
The airline said it plans to retire 35 aircraft in 2020, mostly Boeing-777 models used for long-haul flights.
Among a raft of cost-cutting plans, the firm said it hoped to send more than 400 of its employees on secondment to other companies by next spring.
The jobs staff will take up include call centre work, hotel concierge, reception and secretarial positions, the airline said.
Its domestic rival Japan Airlines, also severely hit by the pandemic, is expected to log a loss of around 230 billion yen for the year to March 2021, according to the Nikkei business daily.
The company is scheduled to announce financial results later this week.