The European aerospace company EADS is planning major structural changes in an effort to downsize its defense and space businesses. They have confirmed nearly 6,000 jobs by the end of 2016.
EADS is planning to slash 5,800 jobs at its defense and space units, which include Airbus Military, Cassidian and Astrium, the company said in a statement released on its website Monday. The cuts will come at EADS sites in Britain, France, Germany and Spain.
The job cuts come as Europe's largest aerospace company was seeking to merge the three units into one new entity called the Airbus Defense and Space Division.
Part of the downsizing drive was the restructuring of EADS locations in and around the French capital, Paris, as well as relocating the headquarters of its Cassidian military unit from Unterschleißheim to Ottobrunn, both in Germany.
The company said up to 1,500 positions will be offered at Airbus and Eurocopter for redeployment of impacted employees. Around 1,300 temporary contracts will not be renewed, and the company says it will offer voluntary measures to some employees. Beyond that, an estimated 1,000 - 1,450 employees will likely be made redundant.
The restructuring at EADS, which includes changing the company's name to Airbus next year, is the brainchild of Chief Executive Tom Enders. Enders has repeatedly stressed that cuts to military budgets in Europe would have a negative impact on production and employment in the company's military units.
"We need to improve our competitiveness in defense and space – and we need to do it now," said Tom Enders in the company's statement. "With our traditional markets down, we urgently need to improve access to international customers, to growth markets."
EADS' successful civil aircraft business, grouped in the Airbus unit, wouldn't be affected, Enders said. With the downsizing, the Germany-born CEO aims to boost the company's return on investment to about 10 percent.
uhe/ccp (AFP, Reuters, dpa)