Airbus details job cuts in France as industry downturn makes impact

Airbus Helicopters unveiled a plan to cut 582 jobs from its workforce in France Wednesday, with the reductions to take the form of voluntary redundancies over the next two years.

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The proposal was announced during a special Central Works Council (CWC) meeting held by the manufacturer in Marignane, France, and followed on from the news earlier in the day the company’s earnings had fallen 17 percent in the first nine months of the year compared to the same time period last year.

Airbus Group revealed the latter development in its nine-month 2016 financial results, blaming the downturn in the global oil-and-gas industry that has led to fewer commercial flight hours, in combination with the ongoing impact of the fatal H225 crash in Norway in April — and the ensuing grounding of the H225 fleet.

However, in a release accompanying the report, Airbus Group said its helicopter division “continues to be supported by ongoing transformation measures and efforts to adapt to market challenges.”

These would appear to include the reduction of its workforce in France, with the voluntary redundancies affecting those working at Airbus Helicopters’ headquarters in Marignane, and the manufacturer’s facility in Paris Le Bourget – La Courneuve.

In a statement provided to Vertical, Airbus Helicopters said an initial consultation meeting about the plan will be held with the CWC on Nov. 3. It added that it will discuss a range of measures with social partners in order to “minimize the social impact” of the job cuts, and that the plan will then be submitted to the French authorities for approval.

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During a conference call with analysts to discuss Airbus Group’s nine-month financial results, the company’s chief financial officer, Harald Wilhelm, expressed frustration with the continued ban on offshore H225 flights by the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Agency, despite the European Aviation Safety Agency clearing the type to resume operation.

“Frankly we have to understand why they are not following EASA: is that an anticipation of Brexit, or is that due to other evolutions or influences? We need to understand that,” said Wilhelm.

“I think market participants can expect that if EASA lifts [the ban], then it is good enough to resume [flights with the H225],” he added.

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