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Airbus to Pause Production in France and Spain Amid Pandemic

By Howard Smith - Mar 17, 2020 at 8:51AM

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The company is taking steps to protect its workers, as airlines also seek to preserve cash.

Airbus (EADSY -0.65%), the world's largest plane builder, has announced a pause in production and assembly at its plants in France and Spain. The shutdown is scheduled to last four days, and follows measures being implemented by the governments of both countries to try to contain COVID-19. 

"This will allow sufficient 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," the company said in a press release.

an airplane being worked on in a hangar

Image source: Getty Images.

Flight and spending cuts

This comes as airlines announce major cutbacks in flightsAmerican Airlines and United Airlines both recently announced new capacity cuts due to the continuing spread of the novel coronavirus. This followed a similar announcement last week by Delta Air Lines.

Today, Australian airline Qantas Group said it will eliminate 90% of its international flights, resulting in the grounding of almost all of its wide-body fleet. The company also said it will aim to help the economy by transitioning some of its passenger fleet to freight-only flights to move cargo.

Airlines are also announcing ways in which they plan to preserve cash. These include cuts in executive salaries, hiring freezes, and capital expenditure cuts. In a Friday memo to Delta employees, CEO Ed Bastian said the cost saving plans will include deferring new aircraft deliveries, and lowering capital spending by more than $2 billion for the year. 

These cuts will affect manufacturers like Airbus and Boeing, as airlines continue to focus on cash preservation to ride out the crisis. 

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