Air France-KLM, one of many leading airlines around the world that has been hit hard by the impact of the coronavirus, today reported a sharp drop in passenger numbers for March, compared to a year earlier. 

Air France-KLM carried a total of around 3.6 million passengers in March, down 56.6% from a year earlier. 

Its load factor - which measures the extent to which an airline's planes are full - also fell by 20.5 points from a year ago. 

The airline added it was expecting to suspend more than 90% of its planned capacity over the course of April and May as a result of travel restrictions imposed around the world in a bid to thwart the spread of the coronavirus. 

"Beyond May 2020, the group is currently unable to provide insight due to the high level of uncertainty over the duration of the crisis," Air France-KLM said in a statement. 

The airline added it was continuously monitoring the situation and accordingly evaluating if additional network adjustments would be required. 

The French government has pledged to support Air France-KLM. 

Sources have told Reuters that Air France-KLM is in talks with banks to receive up to €6 billion in loans guaranteed by the French and Dutch governments as it braces for a sustained coronavirus shutdown. 

The French and Dutch states have a 14% stake each in Air France-KLM.