AIRBUS has said 1,700 jobs in the UK could be at risk as the company puts measures into place to safeguard its future.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, the company announced plans to "adapt" its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity in response to the COVID19 crisis.

This adaptation is expected to result in a reduction of around 15,000 positions across its global workforce no later than summer 2021.

Following an in-depth analysis of customer demand that has taken place over recent months, Airbus has said it anticipates the need to "adapt" its UK workforce by about 1,700 positions.

Unite Wales has warned this could have a huge impact at the company’s flagship site at Broughton.

An Airbus spokesman said: "The information and consultation process with social partners has begun with a view to reaching agreements for implementation starting in autumn 2020.

"The commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by close to 40 per cent in recent months as the industry faces an unprecedented crisis.

"Commercial aircraft production rates have been adapted accordingly.

"Airbus is grateful for the government support that has enabled the Company to limit these necessary adaptation measures.

"However with air traffic not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post COVID-19 industry outlook."

The company has said the details of this COVID-19 adaptation plan need to be finalised with social partners.

While compulsory actions cannot be ruled out at this stage, Airbus has said it will work with its social partners to limit the impact of this plan by relying on all available social measures, including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long term partial unemployment schemes where appropriate.

“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.

“The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic.

"Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers.

"To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures.

"Our management team and our board of directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation.

"We thank our governmental partners as they help us preserve our expertise and know-how as much as possible and have played an important role in limiting the social impact of this crisis in our industry.

"The Airbus teams and their skills and competences will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.”

Any significant loss of jobs at Broughton would further accelerate job losses in the aerospace sector in Wales, Unite Wales has warned.

The past week has already seen job losses at both Magellan Aerospace and MIC.

Peter Hughes, Unite Wales Regional Secretary said: “The significance of large scale job losses at Airbus would have a devastating impact on the aerospace sector in Wales and on the wider Welsh economy.

"Unite has been calling for the UK Government to put a plan of support in place for the Aerospace sector for months.

"This support has been provided by France and Germany, will the UK Government now step up to the plate and do everything required to support UK aviation jobs?

"We are calling upon Airbus to hold their nerve and step back from implementing their plan.

"Everything must be done to engage with Government to see if the necessary support can be provided to delay this decision until this crisis abates.

"Certainly further extension of the furlough scheme to the aerospace sector would be a medium term solution whilst it rebuilds and recovers.

"Unite will not accept any proposal that involves compulsory redundancy for our members.

"The workforce at Broughton is world class, and have shown time and again how they are able to adapt and evolve their working practices to maintain the sites position as a central cog in Airbus European operations.

"Unite is open to working constructively with Airbus to look at all options available in order to maintain the maximum number of jobs at Broughton.

"Everyone in Wales recognises how important Airbus can be to the economic recovery of Wales post-Covid19.

"If the UK Government does not step in now to ensure the support is there for Airbus to get through this crisis, the consequences for Wales could be catastrophic."

Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates said: “This news is utterly devastating. 

"Tonight there will be a huge number of workers at Airbus extremely worried by this announcement – my thoughts are with them and their families.

"As a Welsh Government we will stand shoulder to shoulder with the company, its workforce, the unions and the communities impacted by this – and I will be setting out more detail of the Welsh Government’s response tomorrow. 

“Nobody should be under  any illusion about the impact Covid is having on aerospace, a critical part of the Welsh economy.

"The sector is in crisis and the UK Government needs to take swift and decisive action now to save the industry and its supply chain. 

"The alarm bells have been sounding for weeks and we need urgent steps at a UK level to prevent this crisis becoming even worse.”