PARIS — The coronavirus pandemic continued to wreak havoc on global aviation as the aerospace giant Airbus announced Tuesday that it would cut nearly 15,000 jobs across its global work force, the largest downsizing in the company’s history.
Citing a 40 percent slump in commercial aircraft business activity and an “unprecedented crisis” facing the airline industry, Airbus said it would slash around 10 percent of its jobs worldwide, with layoffs hitting operations in France, Germany, Spain and Britain.
The chief executive, Guillaume Faury, had been preparing employees for hard times in a series of recent memos in which he warned it would be necessary to adapt to a “lasting decline” in the demand for airliners. The company said Tuesday that it didn’t expect air travel to return to pre-virus levels before 2023 and potentially not until 2025.
“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” Mr. Faury said in a statement Tuesday. “We must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers.”
The layoffs are a stunning reversal of fortune for the world’s largest plane maker, which was founded 50 years ago.