Airbus has planned to cut 15,000 jobs with 1,700 jobs to be lost in the UK.

The job losses have been described as “utterly devastating” by Economy, Transport and North Wales Minister Ken Skates. The Welsh minister has called on the UK government to take “decisive action” to support the aviation sector.

A “significant share” of the job losses are expected to be shed at Airbus’ facility at Broughton in Flintshire which employs more than 6,000 people at the site. Airbus has said it needed to cut jobs to deal with the massive fall in demand for new aircraft as a result of air travel and border restriction put in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

Skates said said he would be convening a high level summit to discuss the future of the aerospace, automotive and manufacturing sector in the next three weeks and would be pressing the UK government to take part.

“Sector is in crisis”

Skates told the BBC: “Nobody should be under any illusion about the impact COVID is having on aerospace, a critical part of the Welsh economy. The sector is in crisis and the UK government needs to take swift and decisive action now to save the industry and its supply chain.”

“The alarm bells have been sounding for weeks and we need urgent steps at a UK level to prevent this crisis becoming even worse.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart told Radio Wales that the government had put £10bn worth so far into the aviation. He added that he had been in touch with Airbus since the start of the crisis.

Unite Wales Regional Secretary Peter Hughes urged the UK government to act: “If the UK government does not step in now to ensure the support is there for Airbus to get through this crisis, the consequences for Wales could be catastrophic.”

He said the union would “not accept any proposal that involves compulsory redundancy for our members” and called on Airbus to “hold their nerve and step back from implementing their plan”.

Further details of losses to be announced at end of week

Further details on the job losses will be released at the end of the week after talks with unions with the firm expecting to make the cuts by summer 2021. Airbus hopes the majority of redundancies would be voluntary or through early retirement.

Responding to Airbus’ plans to adapt its global workforce, ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said: “This is undoubtedly the toughest period the global aerospace industry has ever faced. Being the largest commercial aircraft company in the UK, Airbus is central to our aerospace industry and has a close relationship with its highly integrated UK supply chain. This difficult news will be unsettling for their employees and those working as part of the supply chain.”

“The aerospace industry contributes to the UK’s prosperity and international competitiveness and our highly-skilled workforce is primed to play a huge role in creating the sustainable aircraft of the future. We have already seen tens of thousands of jobs across the aviation and aerospace sectors put at risk as a result of this crisis.

“Government action to support the wider economy has been greatly appreciated across the aerospace industry, but further measures are urgently required to support a strong recovery in our sector. This should include increased investment in UK innovation, help to recapitalise the supply chain and using public procurement to support high value UK manufacturing.”