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Boeing, EasyJet, Nissan announce swathe of coronavirus-related job cuts

Image credit: Richair | Dreamstime.com

A wave of job cuts has been announced today by Boeing, EasyJet and Nissan as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic takes it toll on manufacturers.

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has said it will cut more than 12,000 US jobs through layoffs and buyouts, with more cuts expected in the future.

This is despite a follow-up announcement that it will resume production of the 737 Max jetliner, which was grounded after two of the planes crashed in separate incidents - the first an Indonesian airline Lion Air flight, in October 2018; the second an Ethiopian Airlines flight, March 2019 - causing the deaths of all 346 people on the flights.

Boeing, one of the biggest manufacturers in the US, said it will lay off 6,770 US employees this week and another 5,520 workers are taking buyout offers to leave voluntarily in the coming weeks. The company had said it would cut 10 per cent of a workforce that numbered about 160,000.

A Boeing spokesperson said the actions represent the largest number of job cuts, but several thousand additional jobs will be eliminated in the next few months.

Britain’s low-cost airliner EasyJet has announced it is cutting up to 30 per cent of its staff - roughly 4,500 jobs - as it attempts to scale down the size of its business in the wake of drastically reduced demand for air travel.

The firm employs over 15,000 people in eight countries across Europe and has acted later than many other airlines in reducing headcount. However, it is making deeper cuts than rival budget airlines such as Ryanair, which is laying off only 15 per cent of its staff, while smaller budget carrier Wizz is reducing its workforce by 19 per cent.

Last month, EasyJet’s founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou warned that the company could run out of money by August and urged it to dump a £4.5bn deal with Airbus to provide it with 107 new planes.

EasyJet’s chief executive Johan Lundgren said in a statement that it was a difficult time for the airline and he was making difficult decisions. “We want to ensure that we emerge from the pandemic an even more competitive business than before, so that easyJet can thrive in the future,” he said.

Meanwhile, Japanese automaker Nissan has said it will shut its Barcelona plant in December as part of cost-cutting measures in a global restructuring plan.

It is planning to slash its production capacity by a fifth to help reduce its fixed costs by 300 billion yen (£2.3bn) as it looks to become smaller and more cost-efficient after posting its first loss in 11 years.

“There was no viable solution for the future of the Barcelona factory,” said Gianluca De Ficchy, Nissan’s Europe chairman, adding that two smaller Nissan plants in northern Spain would remain open.

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