Airbus executive says aviation outlook is worse than expected

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FILE PHOTO: The Airbus logo is seen at the Airbus Defense and Space facility in Elancourt, near Paris, France, July 1, 2020. REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes / File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) – The outlook for the aviation industry has deteriorated again due to rising coronavirus infections and renewed travel restrictions, Airbus chief operating officer Michael Schoellhorn said on Saturday.

With air travel at a fraction of normal levels due to restrictions and travelers’ fears over the pandemic, airlines have slowed deliveries of new aircraft.

Airbus said it had to cut 15,000 jobs worldwide.

In an interview with the business daily Handelsblatt, Schoellhorn said the situation in early fall was worse than the company had expected this summer, adding that the 15,000 planned job cuts would be the minimum.

As some Airbus factories were already underutilized before the pandemic, unions now fear that management may decide to shut down entire sites.

At least for Germany, Schoellhorn has ruled out such a decision.

“In terms of substance, I don’t see any German place at risk at the moment,” he said.

Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury said last month that the aircraft maker would do its best to cut costs without resorting to mandatory layoffs, but he couldn’t guarantee they won’t happen.

In a letter to staff in September, Faury warned that Airbus may have to make mandatory layoffs after air transport does not recover from the pandemic as quickly as expected.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber, editing by Giles Elgood

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