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In this file image, taken on June 18, 2019, an Airbus A330 performs a demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo / François Mori, file)

Beaten by the coronavirus pandemic, European aircraft maker Airbus said Tuesday it will have to cut 15,000 jobs to safeguard its future, warning that there will be more difficult years.

« Given the expectation that air traffic will not recover to pre-COVID-19 levels before 2023 and potentially until 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional action, » the company said in a statement.

Airbus wants to eliminate 5,000 positions in France, 5,100 in Germany, 1,700 in Great Britain, 900 in Spain and 1,300 in other parts of the world, no later than mid-2021.

The company said it wants to start making the cuts in a few months, starting this year. The company will try to achieve this through voluntary resignations and early retirements, but said it does not rule out layoffs. He added that he is consulting with the unions.

Airbus said activity in the commercial aircraft sector had plummeted nearly 40%, after the pandemic forced closing borders, slowing tourism and paralyzing airlines, thrashing Airbus and rival Boeing.

« Airbus is facing the worst crisis this industry has ever faced, » Gillaume Faury, the company’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. « The steps we have taken so far have allowed us to absorb the initial shock of this pandemic. Now, we must make sure that we can sustain our company and emerge from the crisis as a healthy aerospace leader. « 

In the first quarter, Airbus reported losses of 481 million euros ($ 515 million), laid off thousands of workers and applied for billions of loans to survive the crisis.