The boss of British Airways has warned the airline is “under immense pressure” from the coronavirus pandemic and is poised to cut jobs.

BA chief executive Alex Cruz issued a video message to staff on Friday, warning the airline industry faces a “crisis of global proportions like no other we’ve known”.

Cruz told staff: “Some of us have worked in aviation through the global financial crisis, the SARS outbreak and 9/11.

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“What is happening right now is more serious than any of these events.”

The carrier is “under immense pressure”, he said, and will be forced to lay off staff, suspend routes and ground aircraft.

Cruz said: “We will have to react fast in response to the worsening situation.

“We are suspending routes and will be parking aircraft in a way that we have never had to do before. Please do not underestimate the seriousness of this for our company.”

He warned of job cuts “perhaps for a short period, perhaps longer term” in the message, headlined “the survival of British Airways”.

BA declined to comment on the extent of lay-offs or how many roles may be cut.

The warning came amid a deepening crisis for carriers as demand plummets.