By the end of last year, Airbus really seemed to be taking off. The European consortium was ramping up production in order to deliver as many jets as possible. But that momentum has began to stall and employees suddenly face the prospect of layoffs or relocations.
Airbus is grappling with problems and delays, as well as further production changes on the horizon. So this week, managers will enter negotiations with the company’s European works council and local employee representatives about potential layoffs and relocations.
Airbus has already adjusted assembly forecasts for its A380 super jumbo, the world’s largest passenger airliner. On February 15, Chief Executive Tom Enders said a dozen A380s would be delivered by the end of the year and only eight in 2019. After that, the annual rate would fall to six. The company has also said it would need more time to complete its A400 M military transporter. Last year, the company managed to deliver 17 units — a record — but this year it has reached agreements with buyers to postpone delivery dates.
The French magazine Challenges reported Airbus may be forced to cut as many as 3,600 jobs due to the renegotiation of the A380 and A400 M’s expected shipment. But steady or rising orders for other jets — such as the plane maker’s bread-and-butter machine, the A320, as well as the A330 and the A350 — could protect some German sites from such major job cuts.