Finnair has begun talks about temporary layoffs with its long-haul pilots following a reduction in its services to China because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Negotiations began on 17 February, the airline says. No decisions have yet been made.

Finnair Airbus A350 XWB arriving in Finland

Source: Finnair

“We are currently evaluating the impacts flight cancellations due to the novel coronavirus have on our employee resource needs if the exceptional situation prolongs,” says Finnair. “We have now started a co-determination process concerning long-haul pilots to evaluate possible need for temporary layoffs.”

The Finnish flag carrier has cancelled its direct flights to China until 28 March and halved the frequency of its Hong Kong service to once per day.

Chief executive Topi Manner said earlier this month that he expected the coronavirus to have a “relatively limited” impact on the airline’s earnings, as he believed the aviation sector would bounce back quickly once the virus was contained.