Airbus will temporarily stop production at its sites in France and Spain for the next four days so it can make preparations to adjust its work processes to new health and safety measures being brought in over the coronavirus crisis.
The move is in response to new measures brought in by governments in France and Spain designed to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Airbus said the four-day suspension will allow it time to “implement stringent health and safety conditions in terms of hygiene, cleaning and self-distancing, while improving the efficiency of operations under the new working conditions”.
Employees at impacted facilities will work from home where possible.
In a statement, Airbus said: “Airbus continues to closely monitor the evolution of the COVID-19 virus across the globe and is constantly assessing the situation, the impact on employees, customers, suppliers and the business.
“Airbus is following the guidance from the World Health Organisation and national health authorities.”
Reuters reported on Monday that Airbus had developed a contingency plan to slow or stop production in Europe in the event that the countries where it has facilities go into lockdown.
Two people familiar with matter told Reuters that plans ranged from a progressive slowdown to a full shutdown in production at some facilities, although the latter is seen as unlikely.
A spokesperson for Airbus told the newswire: “As we speak, our production facilities are open with strict health and safety protocols following national regulations. We are permanently following the situation and developments in our home production countries.
“We are looking at all kinds of scenarios to maintain business continuity.”
Airbus in February was forced to close its A320 final assembly plant in Tianjin, China, because of the coronavirus. The plant resumed deliveries at the beginning of March as workers in China cautiously return to work.
Airbus has so far confirmed one case of the virus among its employees, as has Boeing.