MIAMI – Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury has updated the company’s situation and actions to face the gravity of the COVID-19 crisis and the uncertainly of its economic impact.
The actions include giving support to health services, hygiene procedures in sites to resume operations, proposing government support for the aviation industry and revocating Airbus’ 2020 guidance.
Faury took the time to thank Airbus workers for their commitment and dedication, also thanking health professionals, public services workers, and society for acting for the general interest in the current difficult conditions.
Airbus’ financial update
As this situation is both a health and an economic crisis, Faury stated that Airbus will face both of them simultaneously, implementing measures to help the company “navigate the current crisis, protect jobs and secure operations for the months ahead.”
The manufacturer will increase liquidity measures with US$32bn and a credit facility of US$16bn to provide more stability and flexibility, focusing on the management of its backlog while it supports airline customers.
Also, the company revoked its 2020 guidance as it is now impossible to precisely evaluate the impact the coronavirus will have on the company this year.
In addition, the company will diminish Airbus’ 2019 dividend of US$1.92 per share, preserving approximately US$2bn, according to Forbes.
At the same time, Faury advocates the support of the government for the suppliers and customers of the industry, quoting the use of export credit.
Airbus’ situation update
Categorizing the situation as a global health crisis of truly historic proportions, Faury said that the priority of the company is to support health professionals and public services while keeping its employees safe. The challenge: to support both at the same time.
Regarding emergency and health services, customers and partners, the Armed Forces and police forces in Europe, Airbus donated thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services and will continue to do so as much as it can.
In terms of the 139,000 Airbus employees across the globe, Faury said that Airbus was also working with its social partners to implement the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of its workers.
Last week, the aerospace corporation stopped operations in France and Spain following the drastic new measures against the coronavirus as announced by European governments.
Today, Airbus restarted production in these countries after it implemented strict hygiene, cleaning and distancing measures in its factories. In addition, the CEO announced the application of these standards in worldwide sites without the need to fully interrupt production.
Non-production activities will continue with homeworking measures where possible until these employees can return to the office in a timely manner “where and when appropriate health measures are implemented to secure all working environments,” said Faury.
“We are taking all necessary measures to ensure that our business can continue, but if a workstation does not conform to the coronavirus requirements, it will not reopen,” stated Faury as part of the strict safety measures.
In China, Airbus resumed operations, including its final assembly line in Tianjin, the first outside Europe. Faury made emphasis on priorities established to face the crisis, saying that at first, if production efficiency is low or even very low, it would be ok. “We’ll recover efficiency later.”
Faury concluded that the industry will face deep changes in the next months, but both the company and the aerospace sector “will emerge from this difficult period, eventually.”