Airbus cutting at least 15,000 jobs to ‘adapt’ to COVID-19

Plane maker says commercial aircraft business down 40%


European plane maker Airbus said Tuesday (30 June) that it would have to cut at least 15,000 jobs across its global workforce and “resize its commercial aircraft activity in response to the COVID-19 crisis”. The company said the job cuts would take effect no later than the summer of 2021 and it hopes to reach agreements with its various unions and employee groups to start the process by this autumn. Airbus said commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by close to 40 percent in recent months as the industry faces an unprecedented crisis.

The company said it had to take action because global air traffic is not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025. “Following the in-depth analysis of customer demand that has taken place over recent months, Airbus anticipates the need to adapt its global workforce due to COVID-19 by approximately:

  • 5,000 positions in France
  • 5,100 positions in Germany
  • 900 positions in Spain
  • 1,700 positions in the UK
  • 1,300 positions at Airbus’ other worldwide sites

These figures include the Airbus subsidiaries Stelia in France and Premium AEROTEC in Germany. However, they do not include approximately 900 positions stemming from a pre-COVID-19 identified need to restructure Premium AEROTEC in Germany, which will now be implemented within the frame of this global adaptation plan.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. (PHOTO: Airbus)

Airbus said it might have to resort to direct job cuts but is working with employees and representatives to make the cuts through voluntary departures, early retirement, and long-term partial unemployment schemes “where appropriate”. “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. Our management team and our board of directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation.”

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