Multinational aerospace corporation Airbus has warned its employees that the company is “bleeding cash at an unprecedented speed”, amid lockdowns around the world to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, BBC reported on Monday. Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury told the 1.35 lakh employees to brace for potentially deep job cuts and warned that the firm’s survival is at stake.

“The survival of Airbus is in question if we don’t act now,” Faury said in the letter, according to Reuters. He added that in just two months the company has lost one-third of its business. “And, frankly, that’s not even the worst-case scenario we could face,” Faury said.

Airbus had earlier this month announced that it would slash benchmark narrow-body jet production by a third to 40 jets a month. The company also set targets for wide-body jets, implying production cuts of up to 42%.

Faury said Airbus’s new production plan would remain for as long as it took to make a more thorough assessment of demand. The CEO said this could take between two and three months.

Faury also projected a scenario in which Airbus’ demand could reach its pre-coronavirus levels only in five to 10 years. “Unfortunately, the aviation industry will emerge into this new world very much weaker and more vulnerable than we went into it,” Faury wrote.

Greg Waldron, from the aviation industry news website Flight Global, told BBC that all assumptions about the aviation sector have been upended due to the pandemic. “The outlook for Airbus has gone from very positive to very negative,” he said. “There’s simply no demand for new aircraft at the moment.”

Airbus has already begun layoffs with government-assisted furlough schemes starting with 3,000 workers in France. The company has around 13,500 workers in the United Kingdom.

Airbus’ rival Boeing on Saturday scrapped a $4.2 billion (Rs 32,002 crore) with Brazil’s Embraer aerospace conglomerate. The company cited contractual reasons for the decision.

Globally, 29.7 lakh people have so far been infected with the virus, and over 2.06 lakh have been killed, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

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