Airbus pauses production to enforce new health and safety standards

Airbus is pausing production and assembly at its facilities in Spain and France from today (March 17th) for the next four days in order to implement new stringent health and safety conditions for its workers designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The OEM has four helicopter facilities in France and three in Spain which will be impacted by the four-day closure.

The new safety measures include: the temporary closure of the facilities for sanitisation, stricter travel regulations and more flexible working for employees affected by school closures.

“Airbus is closely monitoring the evolution of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic across the globe and is assessing the situation, the impact on employees, customers, suppliers and the business,” the company said in the statement.

“The health and safety of Airbus employees is paramount. Airbus is following WHO [World Health Organization] and local health authority guidance.”

Last week one of its employees at the Madrid site, which  handles the final assembly of the NH90 fuselage and H135 tailbooms, tested positive for Covid-19. The manufacturer then asked co-workers to self-quarantine for the next 14 days.

The company has yet to comment on any long-term effect of the pandemic on its business. But Airbus said it was implementing “robust monitoring to assess the potential impact” of the coronavirus across its business and is working with clients to minimise the impact of its new measures on day-to-day operations.

Visits to Airbus facilities from high-risk regions are being halted and employees returning from high-risk areas are being asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

Airbus has closed its A330 completion and delivery centre in Tianjin last month, due to the coronavirus, but was authorised by Chinese Authorities to restart operations there with stringent safety measures on the February 11th.

Meanwhile, many aircraft manufacturers are likely to be forced to take similar action to maintain production in the coming weeks and months. Leonardo recently closed its manufacturing facilities for two days.

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