This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Airbus plans to cut 15,000 jobs by next summer in response to a 40 percent drop in its commercial aircraft business activity resulting from the Covid 19 crisis, the company said Tuesday. The European airframe maker added that it already has begun a consultation process with unions in an effort to reach agreements for implementation starting this coming autumn.
The cuts will affect 5,000 employees in France; 5,100 in Germany; 900 in Spain; 1,700 in the UK; and 1,300 at other sites around the world. The figures include Airbus subsidiaries Stelia in France and Premium Aerotec in Germany, although they do not include some 900 positions stemming from a pre-Covid decision to restructure Aerotec. Those cuts will now happen within the timeframe of the larger plan.
Airbus said it would work with its unions to limit the effect of the plan on the workforce by relying on “all available social measures,” including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long-term partial unemployment arrangements “where appropriate.” The company has not ruled out compulsory cuts, however.
“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. “The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. 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.”
Those measures include a reduction in production rates to match its 40 percent drop in activity associated with its commercial aircraft business. The deeper cuts follow the company’s announcement in early April of a plan to reduce production by about a third throughout its product line. At the time it did not specify plans for employee cuts.
“Airbus is grateful for the government support that has enabled the company to limit these necessary adaptation measures,” it said in a statement. “However, with air traffic not expected to recover to pre-Covid levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post-Covid 19 industry outlook.”