After reducing its workforce by some 8.000 in the past two Covid-years, Airbus will recruit 6.000 new staff this year again. The new roles will be worldwide across the group and are needed as the European airframer is seeing a strong recovery of the aviation industry. Innovation and higher rates are driving Airbus recruitment.

On December 31, 2019, Airbus had 134.931 employees. This was reduced to 131.349 a year later following the announcement in June 2020 that aircraft production would be reduced by forty percent. The plan was then to reduce staff by 15.000, but by September 2021 (the latest available number), it was down to 126.888. That’s ‘only’ 8.043 as thanks to payroll support schemes, Airbus was able to keep on more staff than was planned.

Since mid-2021, production rates have gone up again, notably for the A320neo-family. The monthly rate increased from 40 to 45 by the end of the year. A further increase to 65 per month from June 2023 has been confirmed. CEO Guillaume Faury said last week in a media briefing that a further ramp-up to rate 70 or 75 from 2024 will be probably decided by the middle of this year.

It’s not just higher rates that are driving recruitment. In a press release, the OEM also identifies “the foundations of a bold future for sustainable aviation” as a key reason why it is looking for “acquiring the right talents.” Since announcing its ZEROe initiative to develop a hydrogen-based airliner and have it available around 2035, Airbus has been pushing hard on Research & Development for this program. The next three years are crucial, as it wants to research all technological options and find solutions for problems in order to select the preferred option by 2025.

A quarter of all recruitments will be for functions that are related to long-term, net-zero projects. A third of the available 6.000 jobs are offered to young graduates. Not only will they bring fresh ideas with them, but it should secure a smooth transition between the generations as older staff are nearing retirement age.  

After the first wave of recruitment in the coming months, Airbus will reassess external hirings by the middle of the year and adjust them accordingly, Thierry Baril, Chief of Human Resources, says. “Not only will we look at acquiring the new skills that Airbus needs in the post-COVID world, but we will also do our utmost to reinforce diversity across the Company, fostering a safe and inclusive culture reinforcing Team Airbus to be ready to pioneer sustainable aerospace.”

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Richard Schuurman
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Active as journalist since 1987, starting with regional newspaper Zwolse Courant. Grand Prix reporter in 1997 at Dutch monthly Formule 1, general reporter Lelystad/Flevoland at De Stentor/Dagblad Flevoland, from 2002 until June 2021 radio/tv reporter/presentor with Omroep Flevoland.
Since mid-2016 freelance aviation journalist, since June 2021 fully dedicated to aviation. Reporter/editor AirInsight since December 2018. Contributor to Airliner World, Piloot & Vliegtuig. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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