LONDON – European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has confirmed it will cut up to 15,000 jobs in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The manufacturer’s CEO earlier this week warned of such job cuts due to a loss of output. Customers have been wanting to defer deliveries of jets because of a lack of funds to take them.

The cuts are due to take place no later than Summer 2021, with consultation processes due to begin in the Autumn of this year.

Job suspensions in numbers

Commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by around 40% for the manufacturer, meaning such cuts have had to been made.

The breakdown of the 15,000 is as follows:

  • 5,000 in France.
  • 5,100 in Germany.
  • 900 in Spain.
  • 1,700 in the UK.
  • 1,300 elsewhere around the world.

Comments from Airbus CEO

Commenting fresh on this announcement was CEO Guillaume Faury who stated this is the gravest crisis that the industry has experienced.

“The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. Now, 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 confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures. Our management team and our Board of Directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation.”

“We thank our governmental partners as they help us preserve our expertise and know-how as much as possible and have played an important role in limiting the social impact of this crisis in our industry.”

“The Airbus teams and their skills and competencies will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.”

A Full Recovery by 2025

Airbus also said in its statement that it doesn’t believe air traffic will recover to pre-2019 demand levels until 2023 at the earliest, with 2025 being the latest.

This has been one story of many for the manufacturer this month, especially with Airbus threatening to sue airlines who are not taking delivery of new aircraft.

It will be interesting to see whether Airbus in particular follows through on that threat, or whether the job cuts are an alternative to saving such money.

A blow for the industry

Airbus has also added in regards to these job cuts that while such compulsory actions cannot be ruled out, it will work with its social partners, including unions and the government to limit such impacts.

This may take the form of voluntary departures, early retirement and long-term partial unemployment schemes.

In all, this is significantly big news for Airbus and a big blow to the industry thus far. It will be interesting down the road to see where the manufacturer will go once this pandemic comes to an end.