PARIS — Airbus is poised to lay off between 780 and more than 1,000 "white collar" staff, with high technology and communications posts to go as the aerospace and defense group pursues an announced restructuring plan, business daily Les Echos reported Wednesday.
Some 400 jobs of a total 750 will be slashed in the technology innovation area, including planning, technology demonstrators, and research and technology, according to the CFTC trade union, the report said. That would be the largest of the planned 780 jobs cut.
A second labor union, FO, told Agence France-Presse more than 1,000 posts could go, according to Les Echos. The shake up in technology innovation follows Paul Eremenko taking up July 1 the post of chief technology officer.
Eremenko, an aeronautics and astronautics engineer, previously worked at US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Google and Motorola.
The Airbus communications department is also expected to be hit, with almost 100 posts to be cut out of a total 380, the report said.
An Airbus spokesman declined to comment on the reported job losses. "The company is holding talks with the industrial works councils, which will continue over the next few days," he said.
A final figure is expected to be agreed by the end of the year, following negotiations between the works councils and top management, an industry executive said.
"This is part of [Airbus CEO] Tom Enders' plan to go faster, be more efficient and optimize cost," said analyst Antoine Boivin-Champeaux, of brokerage firm Natixis. "The reorganization plan will be paying off even if it has taken somewhat longer than expected."
Among other jobs to go are 75 out of a total 243 in international strategy and public affairs, to cut costs by €36 million (US $38 million). Executive Vice-President Marwan Lahoud heads the international, strategy and public affairs division.
The six regional offices will be centralized into one international department, the report said. Some 120 jobs in cyber and computer security will be shed, with posts going to Toulouse and Marignane, southwest France, and Suresnes, near the French capital, and Ottobrun, southern Germany. Airbus is headquartered in Toulouse, where the Airbus airliners are built and constitute the group's core business.
Some 75 jobs are due to go in the 370-strong legal and compliance office, cutting costs by €11 million, the report said. The staff department will also be slashed. The personnel cuts are expected to be made over the first half of 2017.
Airbus Group said in September the holding company would merge with the subsidiary airliner company to simplify the company name to Airbus, with the change effective Jan. 1. The name change signals an industrial consolidation, with job cuts and closer ties between the parent company and its three divisions: commercial jet builder Airbus, Airbus Helicopters, and Airbus Defence and Space.
Enders will be chief executive of Airbus, with Fabrice Bregier stepping up as chief operating officer, rising to the No. 2 post, Les Echos reported.
Separately, the US administration on Tuesday granted Airbus an export license to sell more than 100 airliners to Iran Air, despite concern in the Republican party that Tehran might use the civil aircraft for military purposes.
Iran had cut six planes from a planned purchase of 118 Airbus airliners worth $27 billion at list prices, due to the US delay of export clearance, Reuters reported. Airbus required the Washington green light, as the European aircraft is equipped with a large number of US parts.