Wednesday 29 April 2020 11:45 am

Airbus profit halves amid 'gravest crisis' in aviation history

Aerospace giant Airbus saw its profit halve in the first quarter as it faced up to what its chief executive labelled the “gravest crisis” in aviation history.

The spread of coronavirus has led to widespread grounding of flights around the world, prompting the French-German firm’s orders to plummet.

Read more: Airbus ‘bleeding cash at an unprecedented speed’ due to coronavirus

In the first quarter, the company’s profit fell 49 per cent to €281m (£245.7m), with revenue also contracting 15 per cent to €10.6bn.

Chief executive Guillaume Faury warned that similar difficulties were expected in the second quarter, saying that “all nature of costs are being reviewed”.

Airbus is taking urgent measures to stem the flow of cash out of the company, having lost €8bn in the first quarter alone, including €3.6bn related to corruption probes in the UK, Franc and US.

The firm announced it would put 3,200 UK staff onto the government’s furlough scheme for workers, having already done the same to 3,000 French employees.

Listen to our daily City View podcast as we chart the economic fallout and business impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Finance chief Dominik Asam did not comment on whether Airbus would be forced to make redundancies, but told staff last week to “prepare for far-reaching measures”.

Asam also raised the possibility that the firm cut implement further production cuts depending on what the situation requires.

Earlier this month Airbus announced it would cut output by between 33 and 42 per cent according to the model in question.

“We are doing everything we can to be in the best shape for competing again later,” Faury said.

Read more: Coronavirus: Airbus to cut jet production by a third

He added that the firm would reduce spending by €700m to €1.9bn and defer any and all spending that was not “critical”.  

Airbus is predicting a slight recovery in the third quarter, before a return to a neutral situation by the end of the year.