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Airbus axes 15,000 jobs amid sector’s 'gravest crisis'

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Airbus has had to cut production by more than a third due to the coronavirus crisis
Airbus has had to cut production by more than a third due to the coronavirus crisis   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Michael Probst
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Airbus is to cut 15,000 jobs as it faces “the gravest crisis this sector has ever experienced”.

The world’s largest manufacturer of aircraft is just one of a many companies to announce drastic cuts as the airline industry attempts to survive amid the coronavirus crisis, which brought much of the world’s air travel to a halt in March.

Airbus, based in the Netherlands, announced on Tuesday evening it was reducing its worldwide workforce by 11%, or 15,000 jobs.

Around 5,100 jobs will be cut in Germany, 5,000 in France, 1,700 in the United Kingdom, 900 in Spain and 1,300 at the group's other sites around the world.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic Airbus, which cut its production rates by more than a third in April, said it intends to "resize its business in commercial aviation".

Guillaume Faury, Airbus’s executive chairman, said the company was "faced with the gravest crisis this sector has ever experienced”.

Airbus saw its share price hit a record high in January this year, just before the coronavirus pandemic caused havoc on the aviation industry.

Unite, a manufacturing union in the UK, called the job cuts an "yet another act of industrial vandalism".

"Over the weeks of this crisis, this country's aerospace jobs have gone hand over fist yet not one word of support or act of assistance has been forthcoming from the government, said the union's assistant general secretary Steve Turner.

"The UK government is watching from the sidelines while a national asset is destroyed."

The French finance ministry Bercy said the cuts were "excessive".

"We expect Airbus to make full use of the instruments put in place by the government to reduce the number of job cuts," Bercy said in a statement to AFP.

Meanwhile there was more bad news for the airline industry on Tuesday when low-cost carrier Easyjet announced it was considering closing three bases in the UK. The main pilots' union said more than 700 pilots' jobs were at risk.

The airline announced in May it would cut a third of its staff - 4,500 jobs in all.