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Airbus Starting Widespread Job Cuts

April 28, 2020
CEO Guillaume Faury warned the group's 135,000 workers that Airbus is “bleeding cash at an unprecedented speed”, and that more severe job-cuts may be yet to come as aircraft orders evaporate.

Airbus SA is furloughing 3,200 workers at an wing assembly plant in Broughton, Wales, taking advantage of a U.K. government job-retention package that allows employers to claim grants for up to 80% of wages. The news follows reports that CEO Guillaume Faury has warned the group's 135,000 workers worldwide that Airbus is “bleeding cash at an unprecedented speed”, and that more severe job-cuts may be yet to come as aircraft orders evaporate.

“The survival of Airbus is in question if we don’t act now,” Faury is reported to have written to employees. Airbus has not commented on the CEO's internal communications.

In France, about 3,000 Airbus workers are being laid off under a government assistance program. More reports maintain that Airbus is discussing guaranteed loans available from European governments to help industries suffering from weak demand.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the aerospace and commercial aircraft sectors significantly, disrupting supply chains and deliveries, but also resulting in reduced demand for new aircraft. Airlines that have for the past decade forecast growing traffic volumes and a need to introduce new aircraft with lower fuel-consumption rates now are reducing or cancelling previous orders.

Several Airbus operations in Europe and North America are idle, in line with regional efforts to contain the spread of the virus, though assembly operations in France had begun to restart earlier in April.

The furlough of the U.K. workers does not include those at a wing design center in Filton, England.

Earlier in April, Airbus announced a plan to cut production rates by about 33%, to adapt to "the new Coronavirus market environment."

“The impact of this pandemic is unprecedented," Faury stated April 8. "At Airbus, protecting our people and supporting the fight against the virus are our chief priorities at this time. We are in constant dialogue with our customers and supply-chain partners as we are all going through these difficult times together.”

Airbus noted then it delivered 122 new aircraft during Q1 2020, but a further 60 aircraft were completed and could not be delivered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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