GE to cut up to quarter of its aviation staff

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US union workers at GE Aviation protested in March after layoff plans

General Electric will cut up to a quarter of its aviation business staff as demand for air travel plunges due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The firm had already announced a 10% cut to its US aviation workforce but it said “more is required”.

The plans are the latest sign that the air travel industry is preparing for a prolonged travel slowdown.

Manufacturing giant Boeing, as well as airlines such as British Airways, have also announced significant cuts.

Boeing last week said it planned to reduce its global workforce by 10% or 16,000 jobs, while British Airways’ parent company IAG said it would slash 12,000 positions.

The potential 13,000 job cuts at GE Aviation, which makes jet engines for companies such as Boeing and Airbus and employs about 52,000 people in 19 countries worldwide, comes shortly after the unit revealed profits had fallen roughly 40% in the three months to March.

They are part of a wider $3bn (£2,4bn) cost-saving effort, as the industry warns of an 80% drop in global air travel this quarter.

“As this pandemic continues to advance, our understanding of its impact on our industry and our business has also evolved,” GE Aviation President David Joyce said in a message to staff. “Unfortunately more is required as we scale the business to the realities of our commercial market”.

“While extremely difficult, I am confident this is the required response to the continued contraction of the industry and its protracted recovery.”

General Electric last week told investors it had suffered a $1bn hit to its business due to the pandemic, which had driven down overall quarterly revenues 8%. Cuts elsewhere at the company include 700 staff and 1,300 contractors in its power division.

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