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Aerospace in crisis: Safran boss warns of job cuts, need for bailout

Safran CEO Philippe Petitcolin at his office in Paris.
Safran CEO Philippe Petitcolin at his office in Paris. © FRANCE 24

The CEO of French aerospace giant Safran has warned of major job cuts in the coming months, and the need for a bailout of the aerospace industry because of the plunge in travel during the coronavirus crisis. Some 45 percent of the company's revenue is earned directly from airlines. Philippe Petitcolin told FRANCE 24: "This business… has totally disappeared over the last two months." He warned of significant job cuts to come at the company, which employs around 95,000 people globally.

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Last month, Safran announced that 35 percent of its global workforce was availing of government-supported furlough schemes, but CEO Petitcolin said many of those people are unable to return to work. "We have no other choice, because we don't have work," he told FRANCE 24.

"We know that for the next three, four years, we will be in a very large reduction of work, so we will have to adapt in the long term," he added.

The aerospace industry will need a government bailout, Safran's CEO said, in France and elsewhere.

Petitcolin said that a recovery in the sector will take several years: "When you talk to Airbus and Boeing, they both say today that the level of activity we enjoyed in 2019 will not be recovered before 2023 or 2024."

He insisted that Safran will survive this crisis, "but we will have to adapt".

>> Covid-19: Airbus CEO warns of 'gravest crisis' for aerospace industry

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