EasyJet is set to cut thousands of members of staff under plans to reduce the size of its fleet.

The Luton-based carrier said it intends to reduce its workforce by up to 30% to cope with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

The move follows similar decisions made by other airlines.

Currently, EasyJet has around 15,000 full-time employees, which means a maximum of 4,500 jobs are at risk.

The low-cost airline’s chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “We realise that these are very difficult times and we are having to consider very difficult decisions which will impact our people, but we want to protect as many jobs as we can for the long term.

READ MORE: British Airways set to make up to 12,000 workers redundant

“We remain focused on doing what is right for the company and its long-term health and success, following the swift action we have taken over the last three months to meet the challenges of the virus.

“Although we will restart flying on 15 June, we expect demand to build slowly, only returning to 2019 levels in about three years’ time.

“Against this backdrop, we are planning to reduce the size of our fleet and to optimise the network and our bases.”

EasyJet announced that by the end of next year it expects to have reduced its fleet size by around 51 aircraft to approximately 302.

READ MORE: Ryanair shares up 15% as airline signals coronavirus cost controls

This will be achieved through measures such as deferring new aircraft arrivals.

Bookings for winter are “well ahead of the equivalent point last year”, partly due to some customers rebooking flights which were cancelled due to the pandemic.