Thousands of jobs are at risk as American Airlines as the carrier slashes costs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline has indicated a 30% cut to its 17,000-strong management and support staff as it trims its fleet by as many as 100 aircraft by summer 2021.

This is on top of almost 39,000 staff who have taken voluntary leave or early retirement.

The details were outlined in an internal announcement on Thursday.

The letter from executive vice president Elise Eberwein said: “Although our pre-pandemic liquidity, the significant financial assistance provided by the government, and the cash we’ve raised in the capital markets provide a foundation for stability, we need to reduce our cost structure, including our most significant expense – the cost of compensation and benefits.

“And we must plan for operating a smaller airline for the foreseeable future.

“We have already taken steps to prepare for this new reality, with nearly 39,000 team members electing to take a voluntary leave or early retirement.

“Fleet retirement accelerations are underway, and we will fly roughly 100 fewer aircraft next summer – mostly wide-bodies – than we had originally planned.

“Additionally, running a smaller airline means we will need a management and support staff team that is roughly 30% leaner.”

Restructuring will take place at all levels, with workforce reductions expected by September 30.

“If there are not enough early out volunteers, we will have to take the difficult step of involuntary separations,” staff were told.

“Once we ensure we have the right size and structure in place for our management and support staff team, we can begin the work for our frontline team, recognising that we will be a smaller airline, with fewer routes and fewer flights.”