Airbus SE Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury stepped up his warning on forced job cuts at the European planemaker as a sharper-than-expected decline in travel leads carriers to push back deliveries of new jets. “The situation has worsened” coming out of the summer high season, he said Tuesday in an interview on France’s RTL radio. “Airlines are in a more difficult situation after the holidays than what we were hoping.”
“It will be very difficult to stick with voluntary departures,” Faury said, reiterating that the company “is potentially at risk” if it doesn’t take the right steps. He pointed to a 40% decline in the jet maker’s production and deliveries.
Airbus’s 40% reduction in output is holding but “I’m extremely cautious about how the crisis is developing and what is coming next with Covid,” he said. Airbus shares fell 1.3% at 9:25 a.m. in Paris, bringing the year-to-date decline to 52%.
While Faury already warned that voluntary measures were unlikely to be enough to meet Airbus’ job-cut target, he has raised the alarm further in recent weeks. “No one can guarantee that there won’t be forced departures,” he said Tuesday. “We have lots of work to do and will do everything to avoid getting to that.”
Europe’s biggest airline will pull 150 jets by mid-decade, 50 more than in its previous plan, leading to more job cuts than the 22,000 already due to go. Air France-KLM Chief Executive Officer Ben Smith also weighed in, warning in an interview with L’Opinion that more cost cuts may be needed after travel demand dropped off at the end of the summer.