Plane-maker Airbus to cut 15,000 jobs amid coronavirus fallout

Airbus A320, A330, A350 and A380 planes flying in formation

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EPA

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The wings for all Airbus commercial aircraft are made in Wales

The aerospace giant Airbus says it plans to cut 15,000 jobs while dealing with the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

It will cut 1,700 jobs in the UK, along with thousands of others in Germany, Spain and elsewhere.

The move is subject to talks with unions who have opposed mandatory layoffs.

The Unite union said that Airbus’ announcement was “another act of industrial vandalism” against the UK’s aerospace sector.

Around 134,000 people work for Airbus worldwide, of which about one tenth in the UK.

The company said the cuts in the UK would only fall within the commercial aircraft division at its two sites in Broughton in Flintshire and Filton, Bristol.

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More details on job losses and how they will break between the two giant factories will arrive later this week after talks with the unions.

However, Unite said it expects 1,116 production jobs and 611 office jobs, reducing Airbus’ workforce in the UK by 15%.

These cuts were inevitable. The only question was how severe the pain was.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been nothing short of catastrophic for the airline industry. At some point in April, global air traffic declined by more than 90%.

When planes don’t fly, they don’t make money. However they have yet to be maintained and leasing or loan costs have yet to be paid.

The result? Airlines are struggling to survive and simply can’t afford to take on new planes right now. And this, of course, means that Airbus has had to curb production.

Airbus has delayed these cuts and has made full use of support from governments. But in the end he had little choice.

The company plans to make the cuts by the summer of 2021, but hopes that most of the layoffs will be voluntary or through early staff retirement.

In April, the company warned that “it was bleeding money at an unprecedented rate” as it struggled with the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

On Tuesday, he said that production has fallen by 40% in recent months and that he did not expect air traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 soon.

“Airbus is facing the most serious crisis this sector has ever experienced,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. “The measures we have taken so far have allowed us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic.

“Now, we need to make sure we can support our business and emerge from the crisis as a healthy and global aerospace leader, adapting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers.”

The firm laid off 3,200 workers in the Broughton factory in April and May and 2200 workers in Broughton will be laid off again in August and September.

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