European aircraft maker Airbus said on Tuesday it is planning to cut around 15,000 jobs worldwide, 11 percent of its total workforce, in response to the coronavirus which it described as the "gravest crisis" the industry has seen.
The cuts are to be implemented by the summer of 2021, Airbus said in a statement, and follow a drop of nearly 40 percent of the commercial aviation business in recent months.
"With air traffic not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post COVID-19 industry outlook," it said in a statement.
The company said 5,000 positions would be cut France, 5,100 in Germany, 900 in Spain, 1,700 positions in Britain and 1,300 positions at Airbus' other worldwide sites.
It warned that "compulsory actions cannot be ruled out at this stage", in an indication that some employees could be made redundant. It said the plan would now be discussed with unions and Airbus would seek to use different measures to bring about the reductions, including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long-term partial unemployment schemes.
"Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced," said chief executive Guillaume Faury.
The company had already in April said it was cutting production of its planes by around a third. Faury said the job cuts were needed to come to terms with the new reality.
"We must now adopt more far-reaching measures," Faury said, adding the management was "fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation."
The aviation industry has been hammered by the travel restrictions imposed to contain the outbreak, with firms worldwide still uncertain when they will be able to get grounded planes back into the air.
The announcement came as union sources told AFP that French flag carrier Air France would cut 7,500 jobs by the end of 2022 as part of a cost-cutting drive that has gained new urgency in the wake of the pandemic.