Following the implementation of new measures in France and Spain to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbus has decided to temporarily pause production and assembly activities, at its French and Spanish sites, across the Company for the next four days.

"This will allow sufficient 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."

Airbus Statement

This is the most serious across-the-board disruption in Airbus's production since a strike at then British partner BAE Systems in 1989.

French President Emmanuel Macron, late on Monday, ordered stringent restrictions on people’s movements, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Airbus had drawn up contingency plans to slow or stop production, if France was placed under a drastic lockdown due to coronavirus.

US rival Boeing, which halted production of grounded 737 MAX jets in January, is also weighing contingency plans to halt or slow twin-aisle production, a person familiar with the matter said.

A Boeing spokesman said production continues at this time and the company was closely tracking guidance from government and health officials.

US to Boost Tariffs on Airbus

The United States is expected to proceed with a 50% increase in US tariffs on Airbus planes, on Wednesday 17th March 2020.

Tariffs on Airbus aircraft, built in Europe, are to increase to 15% from 10% at 12:01 Wednesday, as Washington pressures the EU to comply with a World Trade Organisation ruling on illegal aircraft subsidies.

The tariff may further hamper airlines seeking government aid, with travel sharply reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The WTO is expected to rule on a parallel case, in which the EU has challenged government aid to US plane maker Boeing later this spring.

“It’s important to keep in mind that the WTO determined the EU’s massive illegal subsidies to Airbus cost our aerospace companies and workers hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue."

U.S. Trade Representative’s office