Airbus to cut 15,000 jobs to survive Covid-19 crisis

TOULOUSE/PARIS • Airbus on Tuesday unveiled plans to shed around 15,000 jobs, including 900 already earmarked in Germany, saying its future was at stake after the coronavirus pandemic rocked the air travel industry.

Europe's biggest aerospace group said it would cut some 5,000 posts in France, 5,100 in Germany, 900 in Spain, 1,700 in Britain and 1,300 elsewhere for a core total of 14,000.

Additionally, the company has already agreed to cut 900 jobs at its Premium Aerotec unit in Germany.

The move is subject to talks with unions, which immediately renewed pledges to oppose compulsory redundancies. Airbus has refused to rule them out as it seeks voluntary departures, early retirements and long-term partial employment schemes.

Airbus said it wanted a deal on the job cuts by next year.

"It's going to be a mighty battle to save jobs," said Ms Francoise Vallin of the CFE-CGC union.

A French Finance Ministry official said the government expected Airbus to use instruments it had made available to reduce job cut numbers.

On June 3, Reuters reported that Airbus' reduced production targets pointed on paper to cuts of 14,000 full-time posts.

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

Airbus has a 135,000-strong workforce, heavily populated by veterans of its original A-320 development. About 37 per cent of staff are due to retire this decade.

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 US rival Boeing for orders and industrial clout.

France and Germany had announced plans to support aerospace.

Industry sources say Airbus is basing the restructuring on a 40 per cent drop in underlying aircraft production for two years.

Some industry sources say Airbus has all but abandoned a goal of more than doubling service revenue to US$10 billion (S$14 billion) this decade.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2020, with the headline 'Airbus to cut 15,000 jobs to survive Covid-19 crisis'. Subscribe