Air France-KLM slashed capacity by more than a third in March and will run a “skeleton operation” throughout April and May.

The group says traffic at its two mainline carriers dropped 51% year-over-year in March, as it cut capacity 35%. This led to a 21.6 percentage-point reduction in load factor, to 65.4%. Passenger numbers fell 57% to 3.1 million.

The biggest capacity cut – 48% – was to Air France-KLM’s Asia-Pacific network, followed by its short- and medium-haul network, where available seat-kilometres fell 44%.

Capacity cuts at Air France were more pronounced that at KLM. The French carrier reduced ASKs 37% while its Dutch stablemate cut 32% of its capacity.

Air France and KLM say they expect to suspend more than 90% of planned capacity in April and May, but will “continue serving key city-pairs by a skeleton operation from their respective hubs”.

Beyond that, the group says it is “unable to provide insight due to the high level of uncertainty over the duration of the [coronavirus] crisis”.

When Transavia’s figures are included, total ASKs in March were reduced 36% on a 51% drop in revenue passenger-kilometres, leading to a 20.5 percentage-point fall in load factor to 67.1%.

Cargo activity across the group did not fall quite as sharply, as a 28% reduction in capacity almost matched a 29% drop in traffic. Cargo loads remained relatively unchanged at 61.5% versus 62.3% a year ago.