Resumption of pre-lockdown air traffic is expected for 2023, forcing the airliner to discharge a significant number of its workforce worldwide.
Rabat – The world’s largest airliner manufacturer, Airbus, announced in a press release Tuesday it will cut 15,000 jobs — approximately 10% of its global workforce — as part of its worldwide workforce adaptation plan to cope with the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis, which significantly reduced the demand for air traffic worldwide.
Layoffs would hit 5,000 positions in its subsidiaries in France, 5,100 in Germany, 900 in Spain, and 1,700 in the UK, in addition to 300 positions at Airbus’ other worldwide sites as the company expects the crisis to persist for several years. Airbus said that a sustained resumption of air travel activities is anticipated for the year 2023 and potentially for 2025.
The airline maker employs approximately 49,000 employees in France, 45,500 in Germany, 12,500 in Spain, and 11,000 in Britain. It plans to cut 5,000 jobs, 5,100, 900, and 1,700, respectively.
A further 1,300 jobs will be cut at other sites across the globe, while 900 employees will be discharged as part of a previously planned restructuring program, decided before the pandemic hit.
The company stated that commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by nearly 40% in recent months as the industry faces an unprecedented crisis.
It also announced that the layoffs will take place at the ultimate date of summer 2021, adding that the adaptation plan needs to be finalized with social partners.
Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury said in a statement Tuesday that the Leiden-based company “is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced.”
“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 sustainably recover from the months-long suspension of intercontinental and intercountry air movement, Airbus is considering voluntary departures, early retirement, and long-term partial unemployment schemes where appropriate.
Sharing its statistics on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the aviation industry, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed in a June 17 press release that airlines in Europe are set to lose $21.5 billion in revenue this year. The revenue loss threatens six to seven million jobs within the aviation industry in Europe.
The IATA advised European governments to issue financial aid to support their aviation industry and waive taxes and charges, among other measures.
The French government has already pledged a $16.9 billion support package — most of it in the form of loans — for Air France, Airbus, and other French aviation parts manufacturers.
The IATA regretted that the loans will constitute a greater financial burden and “hinder their [the airlines’] ability to invest in new services, cleaner aircraft, and expanded employment going forward.”
Also impacted by the crisis, Airbus’ American rival, Boeing, also announced 16,000 job cuts in late April.