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Airbus executive says aviation outlook worse than expected

Airbus A380 Cockpit
Airbus 380 cockpit -- Airbus CEO says business is poor.

The outlook for the aviation industry has deteriorated again due to rising coronavirus infections and renewed travel restrictions, Airbus chief operating officer Michael Schoellhorn was quoted as saying on Saturday.

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

Airbus has said it needs to shed 15,000 posts worldwide, including a third in France, as part of a restructuring plan put in place to deal with the air transport crisis caused by the novel coronavirus epidemic.

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

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

At least for Germany, Schoellhorn ruled out such a move.

“In terms of substance, I do not see any German locations at risk at the moment,” he said.

Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury said last month the planemaker would do its best to cut costs without resorting to compulsory redundancies, but it could not guarantee they won’t happen.

In a letter to staff in September, Faury warned that Airbus may have to carry out compulsory layoffs after air travel failed to recover from the pandemic as quickly as anticipated.

Mexico’s  Interjet’s new management told a meeting with its pilots that a new fleet is planned, and during the gathering, Carlos del Valle, new executive director of the Mexican low-cost airline, promised that there would be a purchase of a new Airbus fleet before the year ends.

Del Valle said that Interjet would resume its Airbus operations in the next three months. The airline had a fleet of 66 Airbus airplanes and 22 Sukhoi Superjet when the year started, but is phasing out use of the Russian jets.

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