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Australia’s Qantas Group is set to reduce its international capacity by nearly a quarter as the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak continues to spread worldwide.

The group has decided to cut international capacity for Qantas Airways and its subsidiary Jetstar Airways by 23% compared with the same period last year, until mid-September.

Having already affected 108 countries, the outbreak has significantly impacted airline businesses with flight bookings plummeting globally.

The majority of Qantas’ capacity reductions will be focused on Asia (31%), followed by the US (19%), the UK (17%) and Trans-Tasman (10%).

The airline decided to use smaller aircraft and reduce flight frequency to maintain connectivity.

The Qantas Group also announced that it has decided to suspend non-essential recruitment and consultancy work while employees are encouraged to take paid or unpaid leave due to a reduction in regular operations.

As part of the cost-cutting measures, Qantas Chairman, Group CEO will forego their salaries for the current financial year while the board will take a 30% decrease in fees.

However, the group is yet to determine the extent of coronavirus impact on its earnings, given the uncertain nature of the situation.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “In the past fortnight, we’ve seen a sharp drop in bookings on our international network as the global coronavirus spread continues.

“We expect lower demand to continue for the next several months, so rather than taking a piecemeal approach we’re cutting capacity out to mid-September. This improves our ability to reduce costs, as well as giving more certainty to the market, customers and our people.

“We retain the flexibility to cut further or to put capacity back in as this situation develops.”

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 death toll jumped to 4,293.