Airbus and Boeing Struggle for Survival: The Box Score

Boeing 737 MAX Air Canada, part of a fleet now grounded

Airbus laid off 26 workers at an engineering office in Mobile on June 15 following an earlier layoff of 14 in May, but those numbers are just the Alabama tip of a global iceberg for Airbus and rival Boeing as the two aircraft giants continue their separate struggles for survival in the virus crisis, which has crippled the world airline industry.

For those keeping a scorecard, the most recent numbers on layoffs and new plane orders were detailed in a June 17 report by Forecast International.

On April 27, Airbus announced that it is furloughing more than 6,000 employees in Europe, including 3,200 workers in Wales and 3,000 workers in France. Those announcements came the day Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said, in a letter to the company’s 135,000 employees, “The survival of Airbus is in question if we don’t act now.”

Boeing has laid off 6,770 workers, and “Thousands of other employees will be let go over the next few months and 5,520 employees have been approved for voluntary separations,” Forecast International reports.

Orders for both Airbus and Boeing have been sharply curtailed compared to pre-virus crisis years, and Boeing as suffered a serious separate setback as well with the FAA’s grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft.

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Airbus has booked a net total of 299 orders for the year to date, compared to 768 in 2019, the year that it beat out Boeing on orders for the first time. In 2018, Airbus booked a total of 747 net new orders.

For 2020 to date, Boeing has booked a negative 264 net new orders (58 gross orders minus 322 cancellations). In 2019 the company had a negative 87 new orders (243 gross, 330 cancellations), compared to 893 net new orders in 2018, the last year it beat Airbus in the orders race.

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