Commentating on reports that Airbus has warned its workforce that the company is ‘bleeding cash’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, Unite national officer for aerospace Rhys McCarthy said:

"It is no surprise that Airbus and the wider aerospace industry are facing serious challenges as airlines are grounded around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

 “The UK is a world leader in aerospace, building state of the art aircraft, wings and engines with a turnover of £36 billion a year and directly employing 110,000 people in high value, highly skilled jobs.

 “The announcement by Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury must serve as a wake-up call to the UK government as well as governments throughout Europe and globally that airlines are going to need state support for their survival and recovery.

 “Government support will not just protect the workers directly employed in the aerospace industry but also the 100,000 plus workers in the UK who are employed in the industry’s supply chain.

 “Government support to the aviation industry must include strict conditions that include the retention of current orders and the mothballing of older planes for newer more efficient and environmental friendly aircraft and engines. 

 “The UK government must realise the interconnectivity of aviation and aerospace industries and that you don’t have one without the other.

 “A do nothing approach will not only threaten tens of thousands of jobs, but make an economic recovery that more difficult and will result in UK forfeiting its leading role in aerospace."

Unite has developed a blueprint for the future of the aviation sector and is in the process of launching a campaign to secure wider support for its proposals.


Notes to editors:

 During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.


Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.