PARIS (AP) – European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, affected by the coronavirus pandemic, said on Tuesday it needs to cut 15,000 jobs, mostly in Europe, to secure its future and warned for even more meager years.
“As air traffic is expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and possibly only in 2025, Airbus should now take additional measures,” the company said in a statement.
By the summer of 2021, Airbus plans to lose 5,000 workers in France, 5,100 in Germany, 1,700 in Great Britain, 900 in Spain and 1,300 others elsewhere. The total of 15,000 is more than 10% of the global workforce of 135,000 people.
Airbus said it plans to start cuts in a few months from this fall. It strives for voluntary departure and early retirement, but also said that job losses cannot be ruled out. Consultations with unions are already underway.
“The path to recovery will prove to be slow and fragile, and much uncertainty remains,” said the company’s CEO, Guillaume Faury, in a videotaped statement. “We must act now to protect Airbus and protect its future.”
Airbus said commercial aircraft commercial activity has declined by nearly 40%, as the pandemic has closed borders, mass tourism has stalled and airlines have been brought to their knees, beating the European manufacturer and its rival Boeing.
Airlines around the world are expected to lose $ 84 billion this year, halving revenues. Some have filed for bankruptcy or bailouts to survive the near-downturn of their operations, and officials predict it will take years for the industry to recover.
Reducing the production of commercial aircraft and putting thousands of workers on leave bought Airbus time in the early stages of the crisis. But those measures weren’t enough to keep Airbus viable in the long run, Faury explained. Airbus reported a loss of 481 million euros ($ 515 million) in the first quarter.
“We must act now by adjusting our workforce,” said Faury.
“Airbus is facing the worst crisis this industry has ever experienced,” he said. “The actions we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the first shock of this global pandemic. Now we need to ensure that we can support our business and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global leader in aerospace. ”
Jobs are being cut despite a $ 15 billion ($ 16.9 billion) bailout package announced by the government earlier this month for the French aerospace industry, hoping to save jobs and keep Airbus and the flag carrier Air France competitive hold.
The aid includes EUR 7 billion in loans and loan guarantees that the government has already committed to Air France, whose planes were almost completely grounded by the virus.
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