Over the course of almost a decade, Airbus SE supplier UMI Aeronautica SL pivoted from military to commercial aircraft, making parts including door components for the A320 and A330, among the most popular jets in the sky.
Defense orders were languishing, while commercial aviation enjoyed a prolonged boom, so shifting more than two thirds of output made sense.
Now the Spanish company and its about 300 employees are caught up in the worst crisis the aviation industry has ever known, striking hardest where UMI built its expertise: passenger aircraft that are now sitting idle as the coronavirus grounds global fleets.
“About 35% of our staff have been idled, as we had a corresponding drop in our workload” said Co-Chief Executive Officer Antonio Ramirez in an interview. “But that’s only the beginning, because the situation is expected to get even worse.”
UMI’s troubles reflect the fate of the bigger aerospace cluster that southern Spain has carved out over the years. Rising from the vast fields of orange- and olive-tree groves near Seville is the Aerópolis business park that was created in 2003 and is now home to more than 85 companies catering to Airbus, Boeing Co. and other manufacturers.
As planemakers cuts jobs and production, the effects are rippling through the region of Andalusia, where the number of unemployed is already Spain’s highest. (end of excerpt)
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