Japan Airlines Co. said Thursday it will slash its hiring of new graduates in fiscal 2022 by 90 percent from the number that joined JAL group companies last spring, as the coronavirus pandemic is expected to continue putting pressure on travel demand.

The group will hire only 200 new graduates and forgo the recruitment of cabin attendants for its main carrier Japan Airlines in fiscal 2022 starting in April next year, while it will maintain employment of candidates for pilots and people with disabilities.

JAL, which has cut its international flights by around 80 percent, said in a statement it remains difficult to predict when the pandemic will be contained.

The JAL group hired 2,315 new graduates in fiscal 2020 and initially planned to hire some 1,700 in fiscal 2021.

But it halted recruitment activities in the middle of the year in the wake of the pandemic and decided to hire only 200 new graduates in the 2021 business year.

JAL rival ANA Holdings Inc., a parent company of All Nippon Airways Co., is also likely to hire only 200 new graduates in fiscal 2022, after usually taking on around 3,000 each year.

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