Airbus to Slash Roughly 15,000 Jobs Worldwide, Possibly Largest Staff Cut in History

Airbus plans to cut roughly 15,000 jobs worldwide to survive the coronavirus crisis.
Fabienne Lang

Leading airplane maker from Europe, Airbus, is set to announce huge changes in its worldwide employee numbers, by cutting 10% of all its jobs, as per French newspaper Les Echos speculates.

Airbus released an official statement that said 15,000 jobs will be cut by summer 2021. It added that air traffic is not expected to recover before 2023 — and possibly even 2025.

This will cut tens of thousands of jobs across the company, its biggest slashing in history, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sharply hit the aviation industry.

The move will lower the company's output production by 40%


UPDATE June 30, 1:50 PM EDT: Airbus releases official breakdown of job cuts

Airbus will cut roughly 15,000 employees across its global workforce, according to an official release posted to the company's website. The company's downsizing in response to the COVID-19 crisis will go into effect "no later than summer 2021," said the release.

The release added that air traffic is not expected to recover to pre-coronavirus levels before 2023 — and possibly not before 2025.

The positions to be cut include 5,000 France-based jobs, 5,100 German, 900 Spain-based jobs, 1,700 in the U.K., and 1,300 positions at other Airbus sites worldwide.

Airbus said it will work with social partners to limit the impact of this plan to downsize via every available social measure — including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long-term partial unemployment schemes, where applicable.

"Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced," said Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus. "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," he added.

"To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures."

Precise numbers set for July

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury told the German newspaper Die Welt that the exact numbers of job cuts would be announced by the end of July, but that the first round of announcements were announced on Tuesday.

"It’s a brutal fact, but we must do it. It is about the necessary adjustment to the massive drop in production. It’s about securing our future," explained Faury to Die Welt.

The company justifies taking these drastic measures with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, which severely affected the aviation industry, with Airbus receiving a significant decline in orders for its planes.

Faury also mentioned that the company's production output would likely fall by 40% for the next two years, and he mentioned that "We cannot disconnect ourselves from developments."

Per German newspaper Deutsche Welle, roughly 15,000 jobs will be cut out of the company's 90,000-strong workforce worldwide. Faury said that none of the production lines would be fully closed and that they would work at a "slower pace."

For instance, Airbus plans to build only 40 A320 jets each month – its top-selling plane.