MIAMI – Airbus has decided to postpone its plans to build a new A321 assembly line in Toulouse, France amid uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 crisis.
The expansion was announced in January as the demand for the aircraft increased in its Hamburg, Germany site, but with the last decision of the aerospace corporation to cut by a third the manufacture of the type, it changed its initial plan.
The endeavor, then, will be resumed when Airbus sees rates going up again as the decision is just a temporary halt of the project, according to one of Airbus’ spokespersons.
Halted operations means halted jobs
As a cost-saving measure, the assembly company will pause new investments as the cancelation also comes a day after easyJet (EC) deferred a 24 A321 aircraft delivery at the request of its founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury sais on his part, “We are reducing all nature of costs which are no longer absolutely necessary for the short term and preserving the ability to go through the crisis.”
In contrast, CGT union official Xavier Petrachi claimed that the arrival of the assembly line must be maintained, even if it is a nonessential investment.
Additionally, French and German unions said that the company asked staff to take paid leave for 10 days by mid-May, as reported Reuters. The aircraft assembler already had temporarily closed its Spanish, German and US sites during April as a precautionary procedure.
In the same tune, Boeing customers are also suspending orders for the current year and beyond to delay prior payment commitments as a way to preserve their cash flow.
The updated announcements follow the liquidity and customer support actions that CEO Faury outlined in March.