European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has announced it will cut 15,000 jobs, mostly in Europe, following the economic downturn prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
In an announcement Tuesday, the company said beginning in the last quarter of this year and by no later than next year, they are looking to cut the labor force, including 5,000 workers in France, 5,100 in Germany, 1,700 in Britain, 900 in Spain and 1,300 others at facilities elsewhere.
In France and Spain, government officials sought to minimize the effect on its workers. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told reporters the government was working with Airbus in an attempt find ways to keep jobs in the country.
In France, Junior Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari urged the company to make as few cuts as possible. He said it was possible some 2,000 of the proposed cuts there could be prevented through a reduced-work plan and government investment in next-generation jets.
It its statement, Airbus said it will aim for voluntary resignations and early retirements, but also that compulsory job losses can't be ruled out. Airbus said it is already consulting with unions.
Airbus said its commercial aircraft business activity has plummeted by close to 40 percent as the pandemic shut borders, brought mass tourism to a halt and impacted airlines, hitting hard both the European manufacturer and its U.S.-based rival, Boeing.
The International Air Transport Association reports air travel declined by 94 percent in April, and 91.3 percent in May.