This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Airbus partially resumed production and assembly work at its French and Spanish plants on Monday after conducting four days of cleaning and health and safety checks, the company confirmed. The European airframer added it has deployed the same measures across all other sites without full interruption.
The company has considered a range of scenarios that could see a longer-term slowdown or shutdown depending on health measures put in place by Europe’s governments; Airbus also operates major manufacturing plants in the UK and Germany.
“Airbus has carried out extensive work in coordination with its social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while securing business continuity,” said the company in a written statement. “The implementation of these measures required a temporary pause in production and assembly activities at the French and Spanish sites for a period of four days. Workstations will only reopen if they comply with the new health and safety measures in terms of hygiene, cleaning, and self-distancing while improving the efficiency of operations under new working conditions.”
The company said it would continue to support home-working “where possible” for other non-production activities around the world. It will ask some employees to return to support “business continuity” following the implementation of the new measures. In February, the Airbus final assembly line in Tianjin, China, reopened following a temporary production stoppage related to the coronavirus outbreak.
During a flight with a test article of the newly certified A330-800 over the weekend, Airbus transported some 2 million surgical facemasks from Tianjin back to Europe, of which the large majority the company said it would donate to the Spanish and French authorities. It expects more flights to take place “in the coming days.”