Airbus has sharply reduced the production of aircraft, according to reports, and may not fully ramp up again for years as carriers defer deliveries.
Rival Boeing has launched a voluntary redundancy programme and warned an industry recovery may take “for years to come”.
Airbus declined to comment, but business newspaper the Financial Times reported Airbus had cut output of its A320 short-haul aircraft to “well below the 60 a month achieved before the crisis”.
Airbus had planned to increase production of the A320, the mainstay of many airline fleets, to 63 a month by the end of this year.
The company has also reduced production of the A350 and A330 mid and long-haul aircraft, according to the Financial Times which quoted an analyst who said: “Manufacturers are careful about changes in production rates.
“They will not change unless they can sustain the rate for two to three years.”
In a statement, the manufacturer noted: “Airbus is closely monitoring the evolving Covid-19 situation worldwide and is in constant dialogue with customers, suppliers and institutional partners.
“Airbus is in the process of assessing the implications of the pandemic on its operations and potential mitigation measures.”
It declined to comment further.
Airbus reported in March that it had halted production work in Spain until at least April 9 after the Spanish government imposed restrictions on all non-essential activities across the country.
Boeing announced steps to cut its workforce on April 2, offering voluntary redundancy to US-based workers and said it expects “several thousand employees” to accept redundancy or retire.
In a message to staff, Boeing chief executive Dave Calhoun warned “the recovery process” could take years.
He said: “We are initiating a voluntary layoff plan that allows eligible employees who want to exit the company to do so with a pay and benefits package.
“This aims to reduce the need for other workforce actions.”
Calhoun said the measures “will bridge us to recovery as long as we’re not confronted with more unexpected challenges”. But he added: “I can’t predict with certainty what the next few months will bring.”
The Boeing chief warned: “It will take time for the aerospace industry to recover from the crisis.
“When the world emerges from the pandemic, the size of the commercial market and the types of products and services our customers want and need will likely be different.
“We will need to balance supply and demand accordingly as the industry goes through the recovery process for years to come.”
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