KLM, the Dutch arm of Air France-KLM, withdrew a proposed bonus increase for its chief executive over the weekend after public outrage that the company, which is trying to secure state support, should have even considered the move. 

"The KLM supervisory board and KLM's president and CEO have jointly decided to withdraw an item proposing adjustment of executive remuneration, which was on the agenda for KLM's upcoming annual general meeting of shareholders," KLM said in a press release.

It added that the proposal had been drafted long before the coronavirus outbreak. 

CEO Pieter Elbers said the public backlash over the proposal was "regrettable" and he had asked for it to be withdrawn so the company could focus on "the continuity of our company and retaining KLM for the Netherlands". 

Earlier this month Air France-KLM said it had been in talks with the French and Dutch governments, who each own 14% of Air France-KLM, to discuss what state support might be available. 

The chairman of the KLM supervisory board Cees 't Hart said that taking the proposal off the agenda would also allow KLM to make sure future bonus arrangements fit "with the conditions that the Dutch government is likely to impose on support measures". 

Air France-KLM is in talks with banks to receive up to €6 billion in loans guaranteed by the French and Dutch governments, as the airline group braces for a sustained coronavirus shutdown, sources told Reuters earlier this month. 

Both airlines have slashed flights by more than 90% and reined in costs with the help of government-funded layoffs.