May 20 (UPI) -- British jet engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce said Wednesday it will cut 9,000 jobs as it tries to weather the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the air travel industry.
Rolls-Royce said 8,000 of the cuts will be made in its civil aerospace sector. The losses represent nearly one-fifth of the company's worldwide workforce of 52,000.
"Our airline customers and airframe partners are having to adapt and so must we," Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East said in a statement. "We must take difficult decisions to see our business through these unprecedented times."
Rolls-Royce said the reorganization should save the company about $1.6 billion annually and $858 million immediately.
"We have to do this right, which means we will work closely with our employee and trade union representatives as appropriate, look at any viable alternatives to mitigate the impact, consult with everyone affected and treat our people with dignity and respect," West added.
A number of aircraft use Rolls Royce engines, including Airbus' A330, A340, A350 and A380 jetliners, as well as Boeing's 777 and 787.
The International Air Transport Association said last week it doesn't expect air travel to return to 2019 levels until 2023. Rolls-Royce said it plans to produce just 250 plane engines this year, down from its previous estimate of 450.