IAG predicts that air travel volumes will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023

The owner of British Airways (BA) has joined rivals by announcing significant cuts to flight schedules, blaming a “levelling off” in passenger demand.

International Airlines Group (IAG), which counts Aer Lingus and Iberia among its brands, also confirmed progress in BA’s union negotiations over changes to pay and conditions for cabin crew as the airline cuts thousands of jobs to save costs.

It said the UK airline had reached an agreement in principle with Unite, but revealed up to 13,000 people were on course to leave BA in total – with 8,236 having already departed “mostly as a result of voluntary redundancy”.

Analysis by Sky News has aviation, as a sector, currently worst affected in the crisis for jobs – with BA’s plans affecting the most people in a single company.

IAG said coronavirus travel restrictions and quarantine requirements had taken a toll on group bookings – dashing hopes of a steady recovery from the depths of the Covid-19 crisis.

The company previously stated that it hoped to operate 54% of its normal services between October and December.