Thousands of jobs are set to go at the Dutch national airline, KLM, as it deals with the impact of the outbreak. Its chief executive, Pieter Elbers, said KLM will shed as many as 2,000 jobs and ask personnel to work shortened hours, while grounding its fleet of six Boeing 747s from 1 April.

What it (are set to go at) means in this context?

  • As it says in the second sentence, "KLM will shed as many as 2,000 jobs". Something is set to happen, means something is about to happen. So up to 2000 people are about to lose their jobs. Mar 14, 2020 at 2:16
  • I agree, OB, that's what it means. I think it's an unfortunate way to put it, because, without reading further than the first sentence, it could mean that they are about to hire thousands. Mar 14, 2020 at 3:02

1 Answer 1


This sentence is potentially a bit confusing when first reading it. It's combining a couple of different colloquialisms with some potentially ambiguous prepositions. The rest of the passage does help to clarify what is meant, but as a native English speaker even I had to re-read the first sentence when I first encountered it.

It should be parsed as follows:

(Thousands of jobs) (are set) (to go) (at the Dutch national airline...)

Here, "are set" is being used to mean something is poised, ready, or about to happen. "to go" is being used to mean "to go away", or "to disappear", and "at" is the preposition telling you where it's going to happen ("at the Dutch national airline")

So it's saying:

At the Dutch national airline, KLM, thousands of jobs are about to disappear.

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