Following the news that Airbus has furloughed 3,200 personnel at Broughton factory in north Wales;
Nicolas Jouan, Aerospace and Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:
“Airbus’ Broughton factory produces wing-structures for single- and twin-aisles assembled in Toulouse, where furloughs are also taking place, and Bremen. The collapse of air travel since the COVID-19 outbreak has badly impacted Airbus’s backlog and delivery capabilities during the first quarter, creating an unsustainable waiting list for current orders and a shrinking order book. The company registered 29 A320/21 and 17 A350 cancellations so far in 2020, mostly linked to the pandemic.
“It is not always easy to separate the direct effects of COVID-19 from more general struggles of the commercial aviation industry. The industry was suffering from slowing demand from Asia and the Middle East even before the pandemic. With no order registered in February and a net order of 16 units in March (60 new orders and 44 cancellations), Airbus is clearly underperforming.
“Certain cancellations have been linked to COVID-19, such as the cases of Lufthansa and Kuwait Airways – both companies respectively cancelled orders of two and five A350s to slim their fleet and brace for long-term impact of COVID-19 on air travel. In this context, it unfortunately makes sense to slowdown Broughton’s activity in order to avoid stockpiling airframes for which Airbus has no clients.”