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The financial and industrial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic is starting to be seen in the results of companies in the aeronautical sector. Suddenly, competitors Airbus and Boeing revealed very heavy losses in the first quarter, to the point that jobs are threatened.
The American manufacturer Boeing confirmed on Wednesday that 10% of its workforce worldwide will be laid off. These voluntary departures and dry layoffs will hit the civil aviation division of the giant of Seattle. Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun informed the employees by internal mail on the sidelines of the publication of the first quarter results. The latter bear the stigma of the crisis that started in March with the confinement of a large part of the inhabitants of the planet. The automaker posted a net loss of $ 641 million. At the same time, its turnover plunged 26.2% over one year.
Deliveries of civil aircraft fell by a third. Boeing has also announced that it will reduce the production rate of its aircraft. In particular that of the long-haul 787 and the 777. Private sales of its 737 Max for the past year, Boeing has decided to cut corners to save money. By doing this, he is no longer eligible for the assistance plan of the American administration which conditions any support for the maintenance of jobs.
Airbus in the red too
This may not console the American automaker, but European competitor Airbus is also in the red after the first quarter. CEO Guillaume Faury announced a 15% decline in turnover and a net loss of 481 million euros. As for cash, the group ” bleeding money at unprecedented speed “He said. To maintain itself, it had signed in March a line of credit of 15 billion euros and reduced by about a third the production. But the customers, namely the airlines, are struggling.
Several of them are announcing massive layoff plans. British Airways plans to cut 12,000 of the 42,000 jobs worldwide. At the same time, the Scandinavian airline SAS and the Icelandic Icelandair are also planning thousands of layoffs. British unions are denouncing the position of British Airlines, which they believe could have negotiated public support to avoid arriving at the mass layoffs. In an open letter, the main European airlines took advantage of a meeting of EU transport ministers on Wednesday to request urgent support from the states, many of which are still evaluating their intervention.
On the French side, after aid to Air France, the government also does not rule out supporting Airbus. The French Minister for the Economy said it: the State is ready to massively help the aircraft manufacturer. Bruno Le Maire argues that the aid promised to Air France, that is to say 7 billion euros, will in turn be able to support orders for airplanes to Airbus.
Who says support for Airbus, also says support for the whole galaxy of subcontractors who depend on this big customer. In the United Kingdom, in Germany, and in the Occitanie region in France, tens of thousands of jobs are at stake. However, Airbus reserves the right to take more drastic measures concerning employment next June, at the end of the second quarter. A quarter that could leave even more damage in finances.