Airbus To Partially Resume Work In France And Spain

Airbus is set to start resuming some work on its Spanish and French production lines after a pause for four days. The sites now have sufficient health and safety guards in place and Airbus feels confident that some work can resume on its massive order backlog.

Airbus production line
Airbus has reopened some of its sites with new health and safety policies. Photo: Getty Images

What are the details?

Airbus has been affected by the current aviation crisis and decided to reduce its production output in an effort to prevent illness from reaching its workers. It also floated the idea of requesting financial support from its government patrons as the aviation industry collectively slows to a halt throughout the world.

In preparation for the changing conditions, the aerospace firm shut down its sites in France and Spain for four days in order to implement new health practices and migrate as many staff as they could to ‘at home’ positions.

Airbus planes at Toulouse
Production at Airbus sites, including Toulouse, had previously been suspended. Photo: Airbus

The company said in a statement to Simple Flying a few days ago that this suspension will allow it enough time to implement “stringent health and safety conditions in terms of hygiene, cleaning, and self-distancing while improving the efficiency of operations under the new working conditions.

Airbus employs roughly 3,400 staff in its Spanish commercial aircraft facilities and a few thousand more in Iberian military production lines. In France, the airframe builder also employees around 28,000 people. Airbus Final Assembly Line in Tianjin, China, underwent a similar stoppage to implement these same safety features back in February.

Implementing new health and safety measures either requires months to roll out slowly, or a quick pause in production to deploy quickly. Apart from these sites, no other Airbus facilities will need to pause to stage these new measures.

Airbus aircraft outside Airbus
Airbus employes a significant amount of people that it needs to ensure are taken care of. Photo: Getty Images

What exactly are the new health measures?

Airbus has brought in new systems to ensure that each employee’s workstation is hygienic, is cleaned regularly and that each employee is practicing self-distancing of at least 1.5 meters at all times.

“Health and safety is our number one priority at Airbus so the work stations at our sites in France and Spain will only re-open if they meet the required standards. I’d like to salute the strong commitment from our employees to ensure business continuity in close cooperation with our social partners and other stakeholders,” said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury in a press release.

Airbus, as a firm, also has access to substation resources worldwide, and has seen to it that its global network is used to fight the virus beyond its factory walls.

“At the same time, we are doing all we can to support those on the frontline to fight the coronavirus and limit its spread. We try to live up to our values, humbled by the complexity of the situation, and contribute as much as we can to society in these very difficult times,” 

Airbus is using its fleet of test aircraft (some very recently certified like the Airbus A330-800neo) to fly medical materials from China (such as two million facemasks) to Spain and France. More trips are expected to come.

A330-800 take off
Airbus has used the A330-800 prototype to move medical supplies from China. Photo: Airbus

These ‘back-to-work’ measures should also ensure that the company continues to remain somewhat productive, profitable and that its tens-of-thousands of employees are able to support their families in this time of need.

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