Airbus is preparing to announce on Tuesday a restructuring plan providing for massive job cuts to deal with the air transport crisis, which has led the European aircraft manufacturer to reduce its production rates by more than a third.
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For several weeks, Guillaume Faury, the executive chairman of the group with 135,000 employees, including 81,000 in his commercial aircraft branch, has warned that the crisis caused by the epidemic due to the coronavirus is putting " Airbus survival " at stake . “ The scale of the Covid-19 crisis for our sector requires Airbus to adapt. This adaptation actually means a significant reduction in the size of our business. After decades of uninterrupted growth, this is a real test. It forces us to bitter decisions , ”he wrote in a letter to the employees.
5,000 positions could be cut in France
This plan is to be presented to the unions this afternoon at an extraordinary group committee. The planned cuts are in the order of 15,000 positions, including a third in France, the country where the manufacturer is most established, according to one of these sources, confirming information from La Tribune. " Everything will be done to avoid dry layoffs ," said a close to the manufacturer in Le Figaro . “ Each year, Airbus renews around 6,000 positions following retirements. The idea would be to no longer replace them for two to three years. By adding measures to stimulate voluntary departures, Airbus could cut more than 18,000 jobs without destroying existing jobs. "
These job cuts should almost exclusively affect the group's commercial aviation branch - also present in defense, space and helicopters - as well as several subsidiaries such as the French Stelia Aerospace or the German Premium Aerotec. Asked by AFP, Airbus did not comment.
For France, the plan should be detailed during an Airbus France group committee Thursday morning in Blagnac, headquarters of the aircraft manufacturer in the suburbs of Toulouse, according to a union source, for whom these figures seem " consistent " with the decline of production announced.
The Airbus group has 49,000 employees in France, 45,500 in Germany, 12,500 in Spain and 11,000 in the United Kingdom. The job cuts would therefore affect more than 10% of the total workforce. The Defense and Space branch of Airbus, facing a difficult market, already announced in February a restructuring plan providing for 2,665 job cuts. The big rival, the American Boeing, announced to him at the end of April its intention to cut 10% of its workforce, or 16,000 people, via voluntary departures and layoffs.