Norwegian Air could cut 259 jobs from its Gatwick base.

The airline said the consultation involved short haul crew – both pilots and cabin crew – and a small number of long-haul cabin crew. It confirmed up to 259 jobs were at risk but insisted it was looking to “find common solutions and mitigate redundancies”.

Norwegian Air currently employs  1,142 crew based at Gatwick.

A spokesman said Norwegian Air will continue to operate short haul flights from Gatwick despite the planned cuts.

A statement from the airline said: “The Covid-19 pandemic continues to severely impact our business and this prolonged crisis is far from over.

“These unprecedented circumstances that we now find ourselves in require us to review the London Gatwick crew base in line with current business needs and the associated costs going forward.

“We have entered into consultation with our crew colleagues and unions based in the in UK and will look to find common solutions and mitigate redundancies.”

Commenting on the news, union Balpa said the cuts were “yet more evidence of the devastating effect Covid-19 is having on global aviation”.

Balpa’s general secretary Brian Strutton urged the government to act and provide sector specific support.

He said: “This news is devastating for those affected and Balpa will do everything within its power to support its members, to avoid compulsory redundancies, reduce the number of employees to be dismissed and mitigate the consequences of any dismissals.

“These latest proposed job losses are yet more evidence of the devastating effect Covid-19 is having on global aviation. If the government fails to act to support the sector, we will see more job losses as airlines are decimated.

“The government promised weeks ago that it would look urgently at measures like Airport Covid-19 testing to help retore passenger confidence, but we are still to see any action in this area. The government has let down the industry, its employees and the travelling public in this regard. UK aviation is in a death spiral and this is a disaster for the whole economy.”