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Airbus to review production cuts after 'some months': CEO

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Airbus production cuts announced on Wednesday in response to the coronavirus crisis are likely to be in place for "some months" and then reviewed as the market outlook becomes clearer, chief executive Guillaume Faury said on Wednesday.

[PARIS] Airbus production cuts announced on Wednesday in response to the coronavirus crisis are likely to be in place for "some months" and then reviewed as the market outlook becomes clearer, chief executive Guillaume Faury said on Wednesday.

"Adapting our rate is the right thing to do now," Mr Faury told reporters on a call, after the European planemaker said it was cutting output by about one-third.

Airbus has not yet recorded any outright order cancellations due to the pandemic, Mr Faury said. But he added: "We have a lot of requests for postponements and deferrals ... for 2020 and sometimes 2021."

Airbus on Wednesday cut production across the board to absorb the hit to manufacturing from the coronavirus crisis.

In its largest ever production adjustment, the European manufacturer said it was reducing output of its best-selling A320 narrow-body family by a third to 40 aircraft a month.

It also cut production of larger wide-body jets with the A350 falling by about 40 per cent to 6 aircraft a month, and the A330 family down by more than 40 per cent to 2 aircraft a month, based on the most recently published Airbus production figures.

The move, which Airbus said represented an average output reduction of a third, came as deliveries halved in March to 36 aircraft.

Aerospace has been hit worldwide by the pandemic.

Airbus has experienced particular disruption since France and Spain - two of its core manufacturing nations alongside Britain and Germany - placed their populations in lockdown in mid-March, restricting the movement of workers.

Reuters reported last week that Airbus was considering sharp cuts in production of all models in the face of plunging demand, cash problems at airline customers and logistical difficulties in delivering aircraft.

Airbus said it had delivered 122 aircraft between January and March, down 25 per cent from a year earlier.

It also said it had produced a further 60 aircraft in the first quarter but had been unable to deliver them because of the crisis, which has forced many airlines to defer deliveries and prevented others from sending teams to take delivery.

REUTERS

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