Airbus to cut 750 jobs in defence reorganisation – sources

By Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) -Airbus aims to shed 750 posts as part of a newly announced reorganisation of defence and space activities, union sources said, marking an adjustment equivalent to 2% of its headcount.

The shake-up is not currently expected to lead to compulsory redundancies and will be achieved mainly through attrition and gaps in hiring over the coming two years, they said.

An Airbus spokesperson confirmed the target in response to a query from Reuters, adding it would not result in a net reduction overall “as our business is growing in total”.

Airbus Defence & Space had 34,330 employees at end-2022.

Airbus announced the reorganisation on Wednesday after the division posted a loss following a 300-million-euro quarterly charge on unspecified satellite developments, which industry sources said included the reprogrammable OneSat family.

It also confirmed a Reuters report that it was combining two fighter businesses into one, with its share of the future Franco-German-Spanish FCAS/SCAF grouped together with the existing Eurofighter and other military aircraft and drones.

Codenamed ATOM, the revamp aims to simplify a thicket of separate programmes and reduce the number of layers in the organisationsl structure as Airbus tackles Europe’s fragmented arms industry.

The spokesperson said the revamp “is about a lot more than synergies” and would include clarifying responsibilities.

A reorganisation has been in the works most of this year.

The division faces cutbacks in French and Spanish orders on the A400M transporter, ambitious new developments such as the Eurodrone and delays and cost overruns on the Ariane 6 space launcher, for which the industry received a promise of future operating support at a European space summit earlier this week.

“The challenge that Airbus and (CEO) Guillaume Faury have is restructuring and cost-cutting when dealing with a multiplicity of national sovereignty businesses,” Agency Partners analyst Sash Tusa said.

As part of a separate management reorganisation of its civil business, Faury is due to step back from the day-to-day running of planemaking and focus on strategy for other activities starting in January.

Faury said on Wednesday the simplified structure in defence and space would be in place early next year.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Sharon Singleton and Chizu Nomiyama)