Spain agrees investment plan with Airbus to save jobs

The Airbus A320neo aircraft takes off for its first flight from the airport of Toulouse-Blagnac, southern France, 25 September 2014 (reissued 30 July 2020). [EPA-EFE/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO]

Spain said Thursday (30 July) it had agreed with Airbus to invest €185 million to boost its aerospace sector and minimise job cuts by the European plane-maker in the country.

“Both sides feel it is essential to promote a series of initiatives to strengthen the whole sector in Spain and its auxiliary industries,” the Spanish government said in a statement following a meeting in Madrid between Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Airbus chief Guillaume Faury.

The €185 million investment plan will be financed by the European Union and it will run between 2020 and 2023, the statement added.

Spain also agreed to order several military aircraft from Airbus, including four C295 planes to be used for maritime surveillance and 36 twin-engined H135 helicopters.

In addition, Madrid agreed to back Airbus in talks to help convince the United States to lift sanctions on the company.

In exchange, Airbus said it would work to limit job cuts in Spain.

At the end of June the company said it planned to slash around 15,000 jobs worldwide – 11% of its total workforce – in response to a drop in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Of that number 889 jobs would be cut in Spain, prompting noisy protests outside its plants in the country.

Airbus said the “extraordinary measures developed jointly with the Spanish government” would “help protect and develop key skills, know-how and capabilities throughout Spanish industry”.

The company employs around 12,300 people across Spain but union bosses say the aerospace industry accounts for more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.

It involves more than 400 companies who are based in central Spain, in Andalusia in the south and in the northern Basque Country region.

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