German leisure carrier TUIfly intends to cut around 700 jobs and approximately halve its fleet in response to the coronavirus crisis, according to pilot union Vereinigung Cockpit.

Describing the move as a “heavy blow for employees”, the union says TUIfly will concentrate its operations on its Hannover base, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart.

TUIfly has not responded to a request for comment.

Under a previous plan, the Boeing 737 operator was to launch long-haul flights with 787s from Dusseldorf in November, but this has been put on hold, the union notes.

Its president, Markus Wahl, states that TUIfly management should “quickly” start staff talks and conduct them “honestly and without calculation”, and that “neither employees nor the company can afford to waste time”.

Cirium fleets data shows that TUIfly has 38 737-800s and a single -700. All but two of the aircraft are listed as being in storage.

On 3 June, TUI Group disclosed an agreement with Boeing to delay the delivery of 61 on-order 737 Max jets by an average of two years.

Under the revised schedule, fewer than half of the originally planned 737 Max jets will be delivered to TUI over the next two years.

The aircraft have been ordered for multiple operators within the group. TUI has airline operations in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, and says it will reduce the fleet across the group to address the impact of the crisis.

In March, TUI secured a €1.8 billion ($2 billion) loan by the German government to enhance its liquidity.