Demand for air travel will not return to pre-coronavirus crisis levels until 2024 at the earliest, Lufthansa Group warned.

Ongoing losses are expected for the rest of the year due to a limited return of key long-haul routes.

The group is cutting 22,000 full-time jobs and removing 100 aircraft from its combined fleet.

Lufthansa Group currently has 129,400 employees, about 8,300 fewer than at the same time last year.

The group’s objective was to avoid redundancies as far as possible but this goal “is no longer realistically within reach”.

A €1.7 billion loss was incurred in the three months to June despite a 59% drop in operating expenses as sales plummeted.

First half group revenue fell by 52% to €8.3 billion resulting in a year-on-year loss of €3.5 billion.

Lufthansa has secured a multi-billion euro state aid bailout and is embarking on a wide-ranging restructuring.

“The financial planning of Lufthansa Group stipulates that positive cash flows will be generated again in the course of 2021,” according to a statement.

Chief executive Carsten Spohr said the group had a total of €11.8 billion euros in liquidity available at the end of June.

“We are experiencing a caesura [break] in global air traffic. We do not expect demand to return to pre-crisis levels before 2024. Especially for long-haul routes there will be no quick recovery,” he said.

“We were able to counteract the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in the first half of the year with strict cost management as well as with the revenues from Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Cargo.

“And we are benefiting from the first signs of recovery on tourist routes, especially with our leisure travel offers of the Eurowings and Edelweiss brands.

“Nevertheless, we will not be spared a far-reaching restructuring of our business.”

He added: “We are convinced that the entire aviation industry must adapt to a new normal.

“The pandemic offers our industry a unique opportunity to recalibrate – to question the status quo and, instead of striving for ‘growth at any price’, to create value in a sustainable and responsible way.”