Airbus Pauses Production Temporarily in France and Spain

 - March 17, 2020, 9:49 AM

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

Airbus said on Tuesday that it has “decided to pause production and assembly activities” for the next four days at its production plants in France and Spain as it implements measures to protect workers while it assesses the wider COVID-19 coronavirus situation, which has brought much of Europe to a standstill. It said “assessments are ongoing” relating to other manufacturing sites.

“Airbus is closely monitoring the evolution of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic across the globe and is assessing the situation, the impact on employees, customers, suppliers, and the business. The health and safety of Airbus employees is paramount, and Airbus is following WHO and local health authority guidance,” the company said in a consolidated statement.

“The company remains in close contact with its customers and suppliers and is working together with them to minimize the impact on their operations.”

On a positive note, however, it said: “Airbus nevertheless assumes that the world economy and air traffic will grow in 2020 in line with prevailing independent forecasts. Based on this, Airbus targets around 880 commercial aircraft deliveries in 2020.”

Meanwhile, Airbus's share price has fallen 45 percent this month and with many airlines grounding the majority of their fleets in Europe and further afield, the company will need to brace for requests for order and delivery schedule changes.

Airbus has set out a range of scenarios that could see a longer-term slowdown or shutdown depending on health measures put in place by Europe’s governments; it also operates major manufacturing plants in the UK and Germany.

The company said it will allow employees to work from home where possible. “These measures will be implemented locally in coordination with the social partners," it stated. "Airbus is also working together with its customers and suppliers to minimize the impact of this decision on their operations.” 

In the UK, aerospace industry trade association ADS, organizer of July's Farnborough Airshow, published advice on the “evolving situation.”

“We are also keen to hear from our members on any business impacts of this situation,” it said

ADS also propagated the UK government’s urgent request for manufacturing resources to produce ventilators given that the number available at hospitals will prove woefully inadequate.

“With the impact of coronavirus quickly increasing in the UK and globally, the government is seeking support from industry and our sectors to rapidly increase manufacturing capability for urgently needed medical equipment,” it said.

It remains unclear whether or not any aerospace companies have come forward to offer their production expertise.