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Airbus to fire 1,100 workers amid losses, Iran dilemma

30 November 2016 16:32

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Airbus has announced plans to cut more than 1,100 jobs across Europe and close one of its sites in the Paris region, capping a year marked by a series of losses.

The company has been running into headwinds with its A350 passenger jet – Airbus’s answer to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner – which has missed several targets to take off commercially.

Airbus has also suffered losses of about two billion euros on its A400M military transporter while its helicopter division has suffered from a weak market.

According to Airbus spokesman Jacques Rocca, the layoffs will be spread across four countries, with 640 jobs cut in France, 429 in Germany, 54 in Britain and 39 in Spain.

A workers union spokesman said its members could stage strikes.

“We have said we will not accept layoffs. If there is a need to have labor action, there will be action,” Yvonnick Dreno of the Workers Force union was quoted as saying.

Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders said there was a need for lifelong learning by employees in a fast-changing job market.

The European jet manufacturer’s hopes of a major sales deal with Iran have further dimmed following US presidential election results.

Earlier this year, Airbus signed an initial deal worth about $27 billion to sell more than 100 commercial jets to Iran. However, the company must get US approval for the sales because some 10 percent of the aircraft’s components are American-made.

The US House of Representatives passed a bill this month to block the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran, which would also affect sales by US firm Boeing.

Airbus said this month it has received a second license to sell jets to Iran Air but sanctions experts have said licenses could easily be withdrawn by President-elect Donald Trump if he chose to do so.

Such dilemmas have forced Iranian officials to negotiate with other jet manufactures. Iran Air earlier said it no longer planned to take delivery of A380 superjumbos.

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