German airline Lufthansa on Friday said it would suspend dividends for 2019 as the aviation industry grapples with an "exceptional crisis" caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
The move is aimed at preserving liquidity at a time when the group faces a slew of flight cancellations and a slump in bookings, in part due to government-ordered travel restrictions.
The group's executive board "decided to propose to the Annual General Meeting that the dividend payment for the financial year 2019 shall be suspended", Lufthansa said in a statement.
The group, whose brands include Eurowings, Austrian Airlines and Swiss, earlier this week said it was cancelling 23,000 flights between March 29 and April 24 as countries scramble to stem the pandemic.
Many holidaymakers have ditched their vacation plans over the upheaval and companies worldwide have limited business travel.
Several countries have also closed their borders to passengers from hard-hit nations.
In the United States a ban on visitors from mainland Europe took effect from Friday, while Russia said it would limit flights with the European Union from Monday.
Lufthansa said the group's flight schedule "may be reduced further by up to 70 percent compared to the original plan" in coming weeks.
As part of efforts to cut costs, Lufthansa plans to postpone investments and put some staff on reduced working hours, benefitting from relaxed regulations newly put in place by the German government to help firms weather the storm.
Nevertheless the group expects adjusted operating profits (EBIT) this year to be "significantly below" 2019's 2.0 billion euros ($2.3 billion), given "the exceptional crisis the aviation industry is facing".
Lufthansa said it was in the midst of raising additional funds and had already raised around 600 million euros in recent weeks, giving it a current total liquidity of around 4.3 billion euros.
Lufthansa will unveil detailed financial results for 2019 on March 19.