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Airbus to begin 'partial' production after coronavirus shutdown, unions say

Planes at an Airbus plant in Hamburg, Germany, March 16, 2020.
Planes at an Airbus plant in Hamburg, Germany, March 16, 2020. © Fabian Bimmer, Reuters

Airbus will resume production on Monday at a slower than normal rate after halting French and Spanish plants for several days to adapt to coronavirus restrictions, unions said on Saturday.

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Reuters reported last week that the planemaker hoped to restart on March 23 after a temporary "stop and fix" shutdown to deep-clean factories and adjust working practices to the need for greater distancing between staff.

The CFE-CGC union said the return to production would be "very partial".

Airbus aims to continue producing at a reduced rate but faces the risk of shortages in the supply chain that could cause some disruption, sources have said.

Some unions had urged Airbus to carry out a full shutdown, saying the continuance of plane building was a threat to the safety of staff.

An agreement between Airbus and unions reached late in the week allows for a slow pace of production under maximum health precautions, but figures were not available. Airbus has been producing about 58 single-aisle planes a month.

For its part, the CFE-CGC said it will wait to give its advisory opinion.

"We will wait until Monday evening to receive the return of our representatives in the health and safety committees and the management's point of view," said Françoise Vallin, a CFE union official.

"We will then give our opinion on whether or not it is possible to ensure business continuity."

(REUTERS)

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