Coronavirus Fallout: Airbus to Cut 15,000 Jobs to Face Aviation's 'Gravest Crisis'

  • Coronavirus Fallout: Airbus to Cut 15,000 Jobs to Face Aviation's 'Gravest Crisis'

Coronavirus Fallout: Airbus to Cut 15,000 Jobs to Face Aviation's 'Gravest Crisis'

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus says it plans to shed 15,000 jobs over the next year, mostly in Europe, as it struggles with the financial hit of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Being the largest commercial aircraft company in the UK, Airbus is central to our aerospace industry and has a close relationship with its highly-integrated UK supply chain".

"I have spoken to Airbus this week and will continue to work closely with the company, the trade unions and the Welsh Government to do everything we can to support employees and those affected in the wider supply chain". A 2008 restructuring triggered rare strikes and some protests.

Around 5,100 jobs will be cut in Germany, 5,000 in France, 1,700 in the United Kingdom, 900 in Spain and 1,300 at the group's other sites around the world.

The job losses will fall most heavily in France and Germany, with about 5,000 positions going in each country.

On June 3, Reuters reported Airbus's reduced jet output pointed to cuts of 14,000 full-time posts. It said is already consulting with unions.

Earlier on Tuesday, French union sources predicted a headline figure of 15,000 and pledged to fight compulsory cuts.

Airbus said compulsory redundancies can not be ruled out at this stage, adding it will work with its social partners to limit the impact of its plans by relying on all available social measures, including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long term partial unemployment schemes where appropriate.

Guillaume Faury, Airbus's executive chairman, said the company was "faced with the gravest crisis this sector has ever experienced".

"It is our duty to face the reality", he said, while expressing confidence that Airbus would "recover".

On Tuesday, Faury said production in the months ahead is likely to be cut some more, though not significantly. The discrepancy reflects different ways of measuring output, based on labour used, rather than a new reduction in ouput.

Exceptional secrecy had surrounded the politically sensitive restructuring affecting jobs in Britain, France, Germany and Spain, the company's key backers in a fierce contest with USA rival Boeing for orders and industrial clout.

Nonetheless, the latest job cuts are seen as the biggest test of the complex political climate Airbus operates in as governments exert influence as defense buyers or through employment policy.

Its main rival Boeing said in April it plans reduce its workforce by 10% through voluntary and involuntary layoffs to face the new situation.

Airbus' programmes chief also said the plane maker was slowing a push into after-sales services but maintaining a strategy of diversifying into the high-margin area.