As many as 36,000 workers at United Airlines could be reportedly be furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The figure amounts to almost half of the carrier’s total US-based frontline workforce.

The airline expects its July capacity to be down 75% compared to the same month last year.

United Airlines said in a statement to staff reported by the BBC: “Our primary goal throughout this crisis has been to ensure United – and the jobs it supports – are here when customers are flying again.

“Throughout this crisis, we have been honest and direct with you about our need to right-size our workforce to match travel demand.”

The airline said that not everyone who receives a warning letter will definitely be furloughed, with the final number depending on whether trading conditions improve and how many workers accept offers of redundancy and temporary leave.

United Airlines is receiving $5 billion of a total of $50 billion US and does not plan to make any cutbacks until October 1.

Rival American Airlines last week said it could have 20,000 more front-line workers than it needs to operate, but that not all of them would be furloughed in October.