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Bundeswehr Airbus A400M
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A.I. Bänsch

Airbus plans to cut thousands of jobs throughout Europe

February 19, 2020

The planemaker's Germany-based subsidiary, Defence and Space, has said it's undergoing "restructuring" after major financial losses. The group will cut a total of 2,362 jobs.


Airbus announced on Wednesday it planned to cut 2,362 jobs in its Defence and Space division, which is headquartered near Munich, over the next two years.

The European multinational aerospace company will cut 829 jobs in Germany, 630 in Spain, 404 in France and 357 in Britain.  A further 142 jobs will be cut in other countries.

The planemaker cited a "flat space market and postponed contracts on the defense side" for the decision behind the job cuts.

Airbus added that it was collaborating with its European works council on its restructuring.

"Airbus Defence and Space will provide updates on its plans and continues a constructive dialogue with employee representatives," it said in a statement.

Read more: Opinion: The A380 dream crash-lands

German ban leads to big loss

Airbus reported last week a net loss of €1.36 billion ($1.47 billion) for 2019. The loss was mainly due to a €3.6-billion fine over a bribery scandal as well as additional development costs for the Airbus A400M Atlas, a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft.

Recurring technical problems with the A400M led the German air force to reject delivery of two of the aircraft last year.

The division also lost a promising potential customer after Germany banned defense exports to Saudi Arabia, Airbus Defence and Space chief Dirk Hoke told Reuters.

The ban cost the company €221 million; it was imposed after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the autumn of 2018.

Franco-German projects

The company's Defence and Space division accounts for 15% of Airbus revenue.

Airbus said that "while the underlying business perspectives, especially in the core business, remain solid", job cuts were needed after the book-to-bill ratio (the ratio of orders received to amounts billed) dropped below 1 for the third consecutive year.

The division was expecting to conclude contracts in Germany for a project to develop joint Franco-German fighter jets and military drones after German lawmakers allocated nearly €80 billion for the test phase of the project. Hoke had initially expressed optimism for the project.

However, Germany's Defense Ministry still has not made up its mind, according to French news agency AFP.

"We no longer want to make all our profitability depend on a few 'white elephants,' i.e. very large contracts," Airbus Executive Chairman Guillaume Faury told French financial weekly La Tribune to justify the restructuring.

"We want our business model to be profitable with the normal flow of activity and to reduce the dependence on these big contracts".

mvb/ng (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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