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Rolls-Royce has said it will cut 9,000 jobs and warned it will take “several years” for the airline industry to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The firm, which makes engines for planes, said the reduction of nearly a fifth of its workforce would mainly affect its civil aerospace division.

“This is not a crisis of our making. But it is the crisis that we face and must deal with,” boss Warren East said.

The bulk of the job cuts are expected to be in the UK.

Rolls-Royce employs 52,000 people globally and Mr East told the BBC’s Today programme the company had not yet concluded on “exactly” where the job losses would be, due to having to consult with unions.

But he said: “It’s fair to say that of our civil aerospace business approximately two-thirds of the total employees are in the UK at the moment and that’s probably a good first proxy.”

Air travel has ground to a virtual standstill since the coronavirus began spreading across the world and many airlines have announced steep job cuts. Rolls-Royce said the impact of the pandemic on the company and the whole of the aviation industry “is unprecedented”.

It added that it is “increasingly clear that activity in the commercial aerospace market will take several years to return to the levels seen just a few months ago”. As well as the job losses, the company said it would cut costs in areas such as its plants and properties.

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