PARIS: The aerospace and defence group Airbus plans to reorganise its aircraft production in Germany and France, the company said on Wednesday.
The reorganisation means new companies fully owned by Airbus are to be created in both countries, to optimise the production process and create a new industrial structure.
Discussions are currently being held on the future set-up in Spain, Airbus said.
Production is partly fragmented across the company, subsidiaries and suppliers, Airbus said. However, the assembly of aircraft must be seen as a core activity and central interfaces are needed.
The plans are due to be implemented on January 1, 2022. The company has presented its plans to social partners.
Under the plans, a company based in Germany is to be created that will combine activities from Stade, structural assembly in Hamburg and those of Group subsidiary Premium Aerotec, currently in Nordenham, Bremen and partly in Augsburg.
Meanwhile in France, the planned company would combine activities currently carried out at Airbus in Saint-Nazaire and Nantes, with those of Stella Aerospace worldwide.
The two companies will no longer be suppliers, but will instead be integrated into the Group, according to the company.
This status will enable them to focus on their field while becoming leaner and more flexible, Airbus said. The company also plans to create a new unit based in Germany to focus on manufacturing individual parts and small components. It is to be created out of the current Premium Aerotec.
German trade union IG Metall strongly criticised the plans as an “attack on the Airbus and Premium Aerotec sites in Germany,” IG Metall district manager Daniel Friedrich said.
He said the plans put thousands of jobs at risk and that the union would not accept a breakup of Premium Aerotec and a spin-off of individual Airbus sites.
CEO Guillaume Faury recently said he saw potential to optimise and simplify the European industrial setup which he described as complex and fragmented at present, in comments to last week’s Annual General Meeting.
The European planemaker said on Wednesday it would combine aero structure assembly in France under one entity, bringing major fuselage parts plants in St Nazaire and Nantes together with the worldwide operations of its Stelia subsidiary.
In Germany, its Premium Aerotec unit will be split, with part of it combined with manufacturing plants in Stade and some of the large Hamburg factory, and the rest folded into a new business specialising in small mass-produced “detail” parts.
“We are in the process of reviewing different ownership structures to identify the best possible solution,” a spokesman said, referring to the new Germany-based detail-parts spin-off. — Agencies