PARIS / TOULOUSE, France --- Europe’s Airbus is grappling with labour and supply chain shortages and may only be able to restore aircraft production to some 10-20% of normal levels for now because of partial shutdowns, industry and union sources said.
Worst affected are wide-body jets, demand for which is expected to come under pressure as the coronavirus crisis hits airlines worldwide, especially in the long-haul Asia market.
The European planemaker, whose factories are spread across Europe, restored output at French and Spanish plants a week ago after a four-day shutdown. On Monday it announced a new closure of Spanish plants that make tail sections of Airbus jets.
Airbus said it would suspend most production in Spain until April 9 after the Madrid government tightened the coronavirus lockdown. It has also said British and German wings production and assembly would stop for three weeks.
On Monday, union officials estimated 10-12% of Airbus staff were present at Airbus headquarters factories in Toulouse. An industry official put the total closer to 15%.
“Activity has restarted on the A320 line, and very weakly on the (wide-body) A350 and A330,” said Francoise Vallin, Airbus coordinator for the CFE-CGC union.
Airbus reiterated it had withdrawn 2020 targets. (end of excerpt)
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