True to its upbeat outlook about future production rates and upcoming projects, Airbus announced hiring plans to recruit 6,000 new people worldwide.
Airbus has struggled to convince its suppliers about its plans to reach monthly production levels of over 65 jets. The manufacturer was ramping up to reach such rates already in 2019. Thus, its suppliers had made substantial investments, to meet demand. But the pandemic became the proverbial spanner in these works, straining Airbus, its airline customers and its overstretched suppliers.
The pandemic may be far from over, but Airbus began looking past it over a year ago – with production ramp-ups and hiring plans. Airbus is now producing around 40 single-aisle jets per month. Its suppliers have agreed to medium-term plans up to that pre-pandemic goal. But Airbus wants to go higher, arguing that existing orders support these plans.
Airbus Reorganisations And Hiring Opportunities
This reality, as the manufacturer sees it, is something that it is restating at every opportunity. So there is a major reorganisation underway across the whole Airbus group – in part to meet this goal. We already saw Airbus Atlantic, which aims to bring the group’s aerostructures activities under one roof – with hiring opportunities therein. Airbus Atlantic brings together production sites in France, Spain, Canada and North Africa.
Analysts expect another (as-yet-unnamed) initiative soon, encompassing sites in Germany, among others. Elsewhere, the manufacturer is busy as it works to integrate the production of the A220 in its ‘legacy’ supply chain. Plus, there is the prospect of a contract for a future air tanker for the US Air Force. Airbus is working on this with Lockheed Martin – and such a development could lead to more hiring opportunities.
We have seen that the manufacturer is a strong advocate for hydrogen-electric aviation. Airbus is using engineering resources from across the group, including its Space and Defense divisions, that have worked with hydrogen. The manufacturer is also collaborating with many groups on building what it calls a “hydrogen ecosystem”. Airbus ties its hiring plans to multiple sustainability/decarbonisation projects.
In the nearer-term, Airbus also has projects like the ‘Wing of Tomorrow’. This initiative could change how the manufacturer works with composite structures. We have seen that Airbus, Boeing and even Irkut/UAC in Russia, are banking on innovations in this field. It isn’t entirely clear how immediate Airbus’ plans are, in this regard. The manufacturer is very likely waiting to see what Boeing has in store…
Innovation And Competition
The Wing of Tomorrow project could lead to a rewinged A320 family, set against a possible new Boeing offering. Like Airbus, Boeing has also been making noises about hiring in research roles, lately. However, the American manufacturer is juggling several production and design priorities, at the moment.
These innovative projects could also have an effect on Airbus’ production rates, towards the middle of the decade. And it seems that the manufacturer is keen to have the engineering and other staff to make them a reality. But a lot will depend on how the rest of the industry recovers, until then.
Thierry Baril, Airbus Chief Human Resources & Workplace Officer, said this about the company’s hiring program:
“Airbus has demonstrated resilience throughout the COVID crisis, and has laid the foundations for a bold future for sustainable aviation. This can only be achieved by acquiring the right talents in the various domains of expertise that will help us grow our activities as we come out of the crisis, while preparing the long-term transformation of the Company.
“Following this initial wave of recruitment, which will take place worldwide and across all our businesses, the number of external hires will be reassessed before mid-year 2022 and we will adjust our needs accordingly.”