Southwest Airlines plans to reduce flights by 20% between April and June and freeze hiring as the COVID-19 coronavirus forces an “unprecedented” number of cancellations.

Dallas-based Southwest said the number of passengers on planes has dropped dramatically in recent days and flights are only about half full.

“As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic grows, and based on current booking and cancellation trends, we expect revenue trends for the remainder of March and second quarter 2020 to deteriorate further,” the company said in a regulatory filing Monday.

The news came in a financial statement outlining a $1 billion loan that Southwest took from New York-based JPMorgan Chase. It’s also offering voluntary leave to employees and said it’s “aggressively evaluating” other ways to reduce spending.

With the loan, Southwest said it has about $6.2 billion in unrestricted cash. Southwest is also suspending share repurchases.

Doctors look at a lung CT image at a hospital in Xiaogan,China.

President Donald Trump said Monday that he’s interested in aiding the airlines, but also warned that it could be July or August before the COVID-19 virus “washes through” the country.

“We are going to back the airlines 100 percent,” Trump said. “We will be backstopping the airlines.”

The trade group Airlines for America, which represents Southwest, American and other large carriers, said the industry needs $58 billion in government aid in the form of grants and loans to stabilize it from the growing public health crisis.

DALLAS, TEXAS - MARCH 13: A passenger checks in for an American Airlines in Terminal D at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) on March 13, 2020 in Dallas, Texas. American Airlines announced that it is cutting a third of its international flights amid a major slowdown due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Southwest, which only flies in North America, has been slower to admit the same pain as other airlines. United Airlines, American and Delta have already announced steep declines in capacity during the next few months, along with their own hiring freezes and other cutbacks.

Southwest, in the filing, said it has seen “dramatic declines in passenger bookings in March and second quarter 2020, as well as an unprecedented increase in close-in trip cancellations.” Its flight reductions will take place between April 14 and June 5.

“The company has recently experienced several days of net negative bookings, primarily in March and April 2020, where trip cancellations outpaced new passenger bookings,” Southwest said.

Southwest had only previously said that it expects a $200 million to $300 million revenue drop for March, guidance that is likely outdated by the furthering drop in demand in the last week.

Southwest has about 10,000 employees in North Texas and 62,000 nationwide.

Southwest announced the operating plans and loan after the market closed Monday on one of Wall Street’s worst days in history, dropping nearly 13%. Southwest shares closed at $37.52, down 9% Monday. Its stock has fallen 35% in the last month.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, right, speaks as President Donald Trump, from left, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, and American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, listen during a coronavirus briefing with Airline CEOs in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

A Southwest Airlines jet plane lines up for a landing at Love Field in Dallas.

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