Up to 3700 jobs affected by Airbus production cuts

March 08, 2018
Emirates A380
Emirates threw the A380 program a lifeline. Photo: Emirates

Up to 3700 Airbus workers will be affected by decisions to cut production of the A380 superjumbo and the troubled A400M military transport.

The European manufacturer confirmed Wednesday that it was formally adjusting the production rates from 2020 for both aircraft to six a year for the A380 and eight a year for the A400M.

“Airbus is now entering into a formal social process with staff representatives at European and national levels to analyze potential implications for the Company’s workforce and to start joint mitigation efforts,’’ the company said in a statement.

“At this stage, Airbus estimates the maximum impact of these measures will affect up to 3,700 positions at sites across the Company’s home countries of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain.”

The manufacturer said it was committed to managing the workforce changes in a responsible way and was confident it could it could provide opportunities for most affected employees on programs that are ramping up.

It said it annually manages staff movements of about 12 percent and could “adapt the flexibility level across divisions, functions and subsidiaries to support redeployment of staff to other programmes’ activities”.

The A380 was thrown a lifeline by Emirates, which agreed to buy up additional 36 of the double-decker aircraft after Airbus guaranteed it would stay in production for the next decade.

The deal, valued at $US16 billion at list prices, was 20 firm orders and 16 options with deliveries to start from 2020.

READ: Airbus receives a lifeline with Emirates deal.

Airbus said at the time a baseline of six deliveries a year would allow the A380 production line to keep going in an industrially efficient manner, albeit at a loss, while it tries to sell additional planes to other customers.

It will still deliver 12 superjumbos in 2018 and eight in 2019.

Production on the A400m program will fall to eight units per year in 2020 from 15 in 2018 and 11 in 2019.

“This adjustment is based on discussions with the A400M launch customer nations,’’ Airbus said. “Airbus pursues export opportunities beyond this level.”

Also in doubt is the production of the A330-800neo after the aircraft’s only customer, Hawaiian Airlines, canceled its order in favor of buying Boeing 787s.

The first A300-800neo emerged from the paint shop in Toulouse in February and is scheduled to begin flight testing in the middle of the year.

READ: Hawaiian eyes expansion after 787 buy.

Airbus also announced it had logged orders for 40 aircraft in February split equally between the A380 order and one for 20 A320neo aircraft to an unidentified customer. It delivered 38 planes to 25 customers during the month, including the first A350-1000 to Qatar.