LONDON – The Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Airbus Michael Schoellhorn was quoted as saying that the outlook for the industry has deteriorated again due to rising COVID-19 infections.
This comes following the news back in June this year when the manufacturer confirmed plans to shed 15,000 jobs from the workforce. These cuts are due to take place in the Summer next year, but Schoellhorn warned that the 15,000 figure may be a minimum, with more potentially needed if demand does not pick up.
The unprecedented decline in demand caused by the ongoing pandemic has caused airlines, manufacturers and airports to scale down due to collapsed consumer confidence when it comes to flying.
Too Much Capacity
Some Airbus factories were already underutilized even before the pandemic started hitting the industry hard. This has caused labour unions to show concern that entire locations could be shut down as a result.
Schoellhorn was keen to add that for Germany, such locations would be safe from reductions, as confirmed in the Handelsblatt Business Daily. “In terms of substance, I do not see any German locations at risk at the moment,” he said.
The manufacturer has only delivered 196 aircraft according to half-year data, with figures expecting to be lower than the successful year of 2019, of which over 800 units were delivered in a single 12-month period.
Redundancies as a Last Resort
Last month, the CEO of Airbus, Guillaume Faury, said that he would do his best to cut costs without resorting to redundancies, but didn’t offer a strong guarantee over this.
This came in a letter released earlier last month, where Faury addressed the public openly about the condition of the manufacturer.
With the group employing just under 135,000 people globally, the 15,000 cut will be felt across the entire business. Especially with potentially more redundancies on the way, this will of course emit heavy and negative waves which will cause anxiety of an industry that most love working in.
COVID Hitting Too Hard
With industry losses likely to exceed $84bn and traffic dropping by 66% for this year, according to the International Air Transport Association, it remains clear that the industry cannot yet pick up the pieces that COVID has shattered everywhere.
COVID-19 is hitting too hard, it is now down to governments to control this virus, so then consumer confidence in air travel can be restored and people start flying.
As Schoellhorn has said, with the industry deteriorating, we are still in the crash-like element of this pandemic and appears to keep doing that until we find a vaccine, which is something the industry cannot afford to wait for any longer.
All we can do, unfortunately, is sit and watch.
Featured Image: Airbus A350-900 in house colours. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons