British Airways is understood to be close to reaching an agreement with the union Unite to suspend around 36,000 employees following more than a week of negotiations.
The move will affect cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and head office workers, but none is expected to be made redundant.
BA confirmed this morning that talks are continuing.
It is thought that employees laid off will receive some of their pay through the Government’s scheme for furloughed workers, which covers 80% of their salaries up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
All staff at Gatwick and London City Airport, where BA has suspended operations, will be affected.
It is understood that BA pilots have already agreed to a temporary 50% pay cut.
Over the next three months, the International Air Transport Association expects airlines worldwide to lose almost $40 billion (£32.3bn).
Many staff at Virgin Atlantic have been furloughed for two months and easyJet has furloughed some staff for three months.
Several UK airlines, including BA and Virgin, are being hired by the Government to operate repatriation flights in the coming weeks to bring thousands of people stranded all over the world back to the UK.