Airbus (AIR.PA) on Tuesday announced plans to cut 15,000 jobs from its global workforce, citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the aviation industry.
The French plane maker said the job cuts, which affect around 11% of staff, were “necessary” for “safeguarding the company’s future” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some 1,700 jobs will be lost in the UK. Airbus employs 13,500 people primarily at its Broughton and Filton sites.
“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” chief executive Guillaume Faury said in a video statement.
“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.”
The deepest cuts will fall in France, where 5,000 jobs will be cut, and Germany, where 5,100 roles are set to be lost. Airbus currently employs 135,000 globally.
Airbus said it would work with unions to cut headcount as much as possible using voluntary departures, early retirement, and long term partial unemployment schemes. However, it said it could not rule out redundancies.
The aviation industry is confronting an unprecedented crisis in coronavirus, as airlines and manufacturers face a collapse in demand from travellers. Airbus said in Tuesday’s statement that commercial aircraft activity has dropped by 40% so far this year and is not expected to recover until 2023.
The job cuts come despite a €15bn (£13.6bn, $16.8bn) bailout package announced by the French government for Airbus and Air France earlier this month.
“We thank our governmental partners as they help us preserve our expertise and know-how as much as possible and have played an important role in limiting the social impact of this crisis in our industry,” Faury said.
“The Airbus teams and their skills and competences will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.”