Airbus COVID-19 adaptation plan indicates massive job cuts

A press release from Airbus, dated 30 June 2020, has laid out the plans for Airbus' response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The aerospace manufacturer plans "to adapt its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity," the result being a reduction of around 15,000 positions no later than summer 2021. The statement indicates that commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by close to 40% in recent months as the industry faces an unprecedented crisis, hence necessitating this drastic measure.

The job cuts will affect 5,000 positions in France, 5,100 positions in Germany, 900 positions in Spain, and 1,300 positions at other Airbus sites worldwide. Airbus also anticipates the need to cut 1,700 positions in the UK which has been described as "utterly devastating" by a Welsh minister.

An Airbus A350-1000. Photo by Pascal Weste | AeroNewsX

The statement comes just weeks after a €15 billion bailout package from the French government. The plan has been criticised by both the French government and workers; unions, with the French Finance Ministry labelling the move "excessive."

“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. "Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers. To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures."

The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the aviation industry, and according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), air passenger traffic is expected to record a 48% to 62% decline in 2020 compared to 2019. Airbus had slashed production rates in April in response to customer order cancellations and deferrals.

Airbus became the world's largest plane-maker last year, the first time since 2011, overtaking rival Boeing for the top spot. The company designs, manufactures and sells civil and military aerospace products. Airbus' registered Headquarters is in Leiden, Netherlands, but the operating Head Office is in Toulouse, France. Airbus company divisions include commercial aircraft, helicopters, Airbus Transport International, defence, and space.

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