The know-how that is lost now, will not be easily replaced. We must not forsake the industrial base we need to emerge from the crisis.

Up to 8,000 global job losses announced by Rolls-Royce, plans to cut 25% of its global aviation workforce in the coming months by General Electric, production cuts at Airbus and Boeing by 35 per cent and 50 per cent respectively – these figures are sending shockwaves through an industry that is critical for Europe’s economy.

The impact of COVID-19 on the civil aerospace sector globally and consequently on manufacturing and production in the sector has been truly devastating. This is of huge concern to Europe’s aerospace industry that supports around 865,000 direct jobs in Europe.

Commercial flights are currently down by 91% meaning that aircraft and engine orders have been slashed. The complex supply chains throughout Europe are under immense pressure due to this near collapse in demand. Clearly, the size of the challenge that the aerospace sector faces is unparalleled.

It is now more important than ever to seek dialogue with workers and their representatives and arrive at consensual solutions, avoiding large scale job cuts. Workers in the aerospace sector are among the most highly skilled and Europe cannot afford to lose this know-how. The aerospace sector is a key sector in European manufacturing and a European effort is needed to meet tomorrow’s industrial and decarbonisation challenges.

As companies in the aerospace sector are dealing with the immediate impact of the crisis, it is vital that trade unions are fully involved in any redundancies or restructuring, and that solutions are found both at national and European level. 

The challenges will continue post COVID-19. In losing thousands of highly qualified workers, European manufacturers will not be able to maintain their position as European and global leaders in the aerospace sector. Jobs losses will have a terrible impact on individual workers and their families, as well as local communities and local economies.

Luis Colunga, Deputy General Secretary of industriAll Europe:

“We urge companies in the aerospace sector to persevere and avoid short-sighted decisions. The know-how that is lost now, will not be easily replaced. We are facing unprecedented challenges and we must act with great caution and not forsake the industrial base we need to emerge from the crisis.”

Consult our Covid-19 Monitor for developments in sectors and companies represented by industriAll Europe. European aerospace sector overview.

Contact: Andrea Husen-Bradley press and communication, Elspeth Hathaway policy adviser aerospace sector