Aerospace giant Airbus is to cut 1,700 jobs in the UK, the company has announced.
The job losses come during an incredibly challenging time for the aviation industry following months of plane groundings due to the pandemic.
The news is a huge blow to its site at Broughton in north Wales, where wings are manufactured, and its other factory at Filton in Bristol.
The axe will fall on the commercial aircraft side of the business with 6,000 staff employed at the wing assembly particularly vulnerable.
In addition to the 1,700 UK based jobs, Airbus announced it will shed 13,300 positions across the world.
Europe’s biggest aerospace group said it would cut some 5,000 posts in France, 5,100 in Germany, 900 in Spain and 1,300 elsewhere for a core total of 14,000.
Additionally, the company has already agreed to cut 900 jobs at its Premium AEROTEC unit in Germany.
Airbus said commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by almost 40% in recent months as the industry faces an “unprecedented” crisis.
Chief executive Guillaume Faury said: “Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced.
“The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic.
“Now, 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.
“To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures. Our management team and our board of directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation.
“We thank our governmental partners as they help us preserve our expertise and know-how as much as possible and have played an important role in limiting the social impact of this crisis in our industry.
“The Airbus teams and their skills and competences will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.”
The job losses are subject to talks with unions which immediately renewed pledges to oppose compulsory redundancies.
Airbus has refused to rule them out as it seeks voluntary departures.
A company statement said: “Airbus has announced plans to adapt its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
“This adaptation is expected to result in a reduction of around 15,000 positions no later than summer 2021.
“The information and consultation process with social partners has begun with a view to reaching agreements for implementation starting in autumn 2020.”
Paul Everitt, chief executive of trade body ADS, outlined the challenge facing the aviation industry.
He said: “This is undoubtedly the toughest period the global aerospace industry has ever faced.
“Being the largest commercial aircraft company in the UK, Airbus is central to our aerospace industry and has a close relationship with its highly-integrated UK supply chain. This difficult news will be unsettling for their employees and those working as part of the supply chain.
“The aerospace industry contributes to the UK’s prosperity and international competitiveness and our highly-skilled workforce is primed to play a huge role in creating the sustainable aircraft of the future.
“We have already seen tens of thousands of jobs across the aviation and aerospace sectors put at risk as a result of this crisis.”
Earlier today the owner of furniture chain Harveys called in administrators with the immediate loss of 240 jobs.
Around 20 Harveys stores could be closed if the administration process goes badly.
Bensons for Beds, which is part by Harveys’ owners Blue Group, will also see around 50 of its outlets close, leaving between 150 and 175 open.