Fears for NW jobs as aircraft maker announces 15,000 redundancies

Aircraft maker Airbus has announced plans to axe 15,000 jobs from its global workforce, including 1,700 in the UK.

The manufacturer employs more than 6,000 staff at its wing-making plant in Broughton, near Chester, as well as approximately 4,500 at its Bristol operation, Filton.

Airbus said these plans will “contribute to safeguarding the company’s future”.

The measures to “adapt its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity” is in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Airbus expects to achieve all 15,000 redundancies by the Summer of 2021.

Consultations has begun already to start implementing the cuts by Autumn this year.

The company has targeted 5,000 redundancies in France, 5,100 in Germany, 1,700 in the UK, 1,300 at other Airbus worldwide sites, and 900 in Spain.

Airbus said commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by close to 40% in recent months as the industry faces an unprecedented crisis.

Commercial aircraft production rates have been adapted accordingly.

Airbus said it is grateful for government support that has enabled it to limit these necessary measures. However, it said with air traffic not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023, and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post COVID-19 industry outlook.

The group said that while compulsory actions can’t be ruled out at this stage, Airbus will work with its social partners to limit the impact of this plan by relying on all available social measures, including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long-term partial unemployment schemes where appropriate.

Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury said: “Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced.

“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.

“To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures.

“Our management team and our board of directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation.

“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.

“The Airbus teams and their skills and competences will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.”

The scale of the problem facing the company became apparent earlier this year when Airbus revealed in March that it had received no new orders from customers during the month of February.

It was the second time in as many months that a leading manufacturer had failed to generate sales in a calendar month after Boeing also drew a blank in January for the first time in decades.

Later in March, Airbus announced that it had reduced production at its Broughton wing-making plant in response to the crisis.

And in April the group warned that its future was in jeopardy without drastic action, revealing that the company was “bleeding cash at an unprecedented speed”.

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