American Airlines will apply for $12 billion in US government aid due to of the impact of coronavirus.

Staff were told in an email this “would allow us to fly through even the worst of potential future scenarios”.

This would mean “no involuntary furloughs or cuts in pay rates or benefits for the next six months”.

Staff will also be offered “enhanced voluntary leave and early retirement options”.

A total of $50 billion was set aside for airlines with half given as grants under a massive $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed by the US Congress last week.

The other half will be offered as loans in exchange for not furloughing employees until at least September 30.

American Airlines, the world’s biggest by passenger numbers, hopes to be back to flying a full schedule by then.

The email to employees from chief executive Doug Parker and president Robert Isom said: “These funds are being distributed to ensure continuation of essential airline service and protect jobs.

“We intend to apply for these funds and are confident that, along with our relatively high available cash position, they will allow us to fly through even the worst of potential future scenarios.”

The carrier is also making voluntary leaves of absence and early retirements partially paid to try to lower costs through the coronavirus crisis.