Heathrow has pledged to remain open in the face of a “seismic challenge” facing the global aviation industry.

The London hub and base of British Airways is taking steps to re-organise and shrink its operation to remain open throughout the crisis.

“Keeping Heathrow open will enable some passenger services to continue, as well as facilitating cargo operations which will safeguard vital supply lines for the UK,” a statement by the airport said.

In an update to the London Stock Exchange, the airport added: “The spread of coronavirus represents a seismic challenge for the global aviation industry – including Heathrow.

“Whilst we remain committed to remaining open, Heathrow’s financial performance will be significantly impacted by this unprecedented situation.

“We are taking a number of immediate actions to safeguard the financial resilience of the business.

“Initial steps we have already taken include reducing operating costs, cancelling executive pay, freezing recruitment and reviewing all capital projects.”

Management is reviewing further actions which can be taken “if required and as the situation continues to develop”.

Heathrow added: “We have maintained prudent headroom in our credit metrics and have a strong track record of taking actions to support strong investment grade credit ratings.

“The UK government has confirmed that it will provide support for the UK aviation sector – including airlines and airports.

“Prudent management over the past decade means that our business is well funded and in a robust financial position, with cash and committed facilities available of £3.3 billion designed to maintain at least a 12-month liquidity horizon.”

Heathrow will continue to provide regular trading updates through its monthly business and traffic updates, quarterly financial results and investor reports.