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Airbus cuts jet production to cope with coronavirus crisis

Credit: REUTERS/REGIS DUVIGNAU

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

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PARIS, April 8 (Reuters) - Airbus AIR.PA 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% to 6 aircraft a month, and the A330 family down by more than 40% 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% 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.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher, Piotr Lipinski. Editing by Jane Merriman)

((tim.hepher@thomsonreuters.com; +33 1 49 49 54 52; Reuters Messaging: tim.hepher.thomsonreuters@reuters.net))

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