Airbus cuts 15,000 positions in its “COVID-19 adaptation plan”

June 30, 2020, © Leeham News: Airbus held a press call with its CEO Guillaume Faury today, where he elaborated on Airbus announced “COVID-19 adaptation plan”. 

Over the next 12 months, Airbus needs to reduce its airliner business workforce with 15,000 positions worldwide. Other parts of the company like Helicopters and Defence and Space are not affected by this plan.

Redundancies are not ruled out, but Airbus will work with its social partners to limit these by using available social measures such as voluntary departures, early retirement, and long term partial unemployment schemes offered by governments.

Background to the measures

Faury explained the background to the plan:

“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced. Our business in the civil airliner business has reduced with 40%, and we expect this to remain the level for the next two years. Then, in 2022 we think there will be an uptake in single-aisle business. Widebody deliveries will take longer to recover, perhaps until 2025. Today’s announcement is our longer-term adaptation to the lower demand. There is no further adaptation of our announced production rates because of this. Our initial estimate from April was pretty good. It took single-aisle from rate 60 to 40, A350 from 9.5 to six, and A330 from 3.5 to two. We expect this to be the level for the coming months. Airbus is always adjusting the rates to the actual situation, so there will be smaller adjustments going forward, but these are the levels we work from.”

Faury emphasized the announced losses in positions are the direct job losses from the lower production rates extending over several years. Every possible mean will be used to avoid redundancies. He is especially pleased with the support from the French and German Governments offering extended Government-sponsored furloughs. “Our workforce is a specially trained and skilled asset. When the market comes back, and we expect it to, then we can cut down on these furloughs and be ready for the uptick. We will rotate the furloughed people, so they don’t lose their skills. We are very pleased this tool is available to us in this crisis.”

Details of the announcement

Airbus gave a detailed account of the reductions in its press release:

Following the in-depth analysis of customer demand that has taken place over recent months, Airbus anticipates the need to adapt its global workforce due to COVID-19 by approximately:

  • 5,000 positions in France
  • 5,100 positions in Germany
  • 900 positions in Spain
  • 1,700 positions in the UK
  • 1,300 positions at Airbus’ other worldwide sites

These figures include the Airbus subsidiaries Stelia in France and Premium AEROTEC in Germany. However, they do not include approximately 900 positions stemming from a pre-COVID-19 identified need to restructure Premium AEROTEC in Germany, which will now be implemented within the frame of this global adaptation plan.

Airbus has started the consultation process with its social partners. Agreements around the measures are expected by the autumn.

17 Comments on “Airbus cuts 15,000 positions in its “COVID-19 adaptation plan”

  1. As go the airlines so goes Airbus and Boeing. No surprise here, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain but I find it interesting of no mention about cuts in the USA Mobile, AL operations. I’m sure the EU is not happy.

    • Well over here we have Employees, not Social Partners (that would be my wife)

      Maybe employees being a different group are the next group to be assessed?

      • The term “social partners” refers to trade unions, workers’ councils and branch organizations. Seeing as employees do actually provide a service for companies, it does have some merit not to treat them purely as disposable cattle. In that regard, maybe Boeing would have fewer problems with FOD if its employees were more motivated, i.e. not just treated as cost units.

      • looking at US divorce rates it is the same hire/fire cycle?

      • “A220 from ugly duckling to swan.”

        Boeing. 🙂

        That is why they tried to drown it early.

        • No further cuts in Mirabel either. Production will also remain at 4/months.

          • So A320 to go to 40/month and A220 to reach 8/month. The A220 will then be at 20% of the A320 rate.

          • FWIW, the planned accelarated ramp up at Mirabel was been delayed by one year (old info I read about one month ago).

  2. A very generous package for the Early Retirements and Furlough employees with continuity in their training skills updated during that period. With the reduction of about 1/3 of their earlier projected production, maybe Airbus will be dedicating more time in earlier testing and delivery of their A321 XLR, since this aircraft will be replacing many wide-body routes in the future, with demand, in all likelihood, on the upscale.

  3. So much for a “V” recovery, especially in Aerospace. This story means airlines just don’t need new airframes at this time. It really is amazing the orders they still have. I would presume this would be due to the cost savings associated with not completing maintenance checks on older planes, and the gas savings on the newbuilds. I wonder what big news will be next in the industry? Job cuts at other manufacturer’s, or maybe a bankruptcy at an airline. The new Boeing CEO was chastised for broaching this subject, but the idea has been floated recently on the financial channels again.

    • The V recovery is for other sectors apart from tourism/travel related. In my country the ‘real time data’ from electricity consumed by commercial users, retail card sales and heavy/light vehicles ( which have distance travelled electronically recorded) are almost back to pre Covid levels. Because of our evidence based lockdown processes life is pretty much back to normal, work and retail open, schools open, crowds at sports stadiums, internal travel unrestricted. It all seems so long ago even though it was just a month or so.

      • Obviously, you are from a part of the World that has competent leadership… Sorry, Boss. I had to.

  4. Offering perspective not only helps the people that will be the victims of this but also motivates the people that keep their jobs. As it demonstrates mutual commitment in difficult times.

    • “mounting cost.”
      There is no situation that “makes” people incompetent.
      There are usually only situations coming up
      _that allow people to show/advertise their incompetence_.

      CoVid19 is such a situation.

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