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Rolls-Royce to cut at least 9,000 jobs amid aviation crisis

It said it expects the job losses from its global workforce of 52,000 as part of a ‘major reorganisation’ of the business to adapt to lower demand.

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The Rolls Royce XWB engine assembly line at the Rolls-Royce’s aero engine factory in Derby (Paul Ellis/PA)

The Rolls Royce XWB engine assembly line at the Rolls-Royce’s aero engine factory in Derby (Paul Ellis/PA)

The Rolls Royce XWB engine assembly line at the Rolls-Royce’s aero engine factory in Derby (Paul Ellis/PA)

Aerospace giant Rolls-Royce has said it plans to cut at least 9,000 jobs after the aviation industry was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

It said it expects the job losses from its global workforce of 52,000 as part of a “major reorganisation” of the business to adapt to a fall in demand.

The group warned it will take “several years” for the industry to recover to levels seen before the crisis struck.

The company said the cuts could result in £700 million in savings towards an overall aim of £1.3 billion in annual savings.

It said it will also cut spending across its plant, property and other areas to strengthen its finances.

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Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East (Rolls-Royce/PA)

Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East (Rolls-Royce/PA)

PA

Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East (Rolls-Royce/PA)

Chief executive Warren East said: “This is not a crisis of our making. But it is the crisis that we face and we must deal with it.

“Our airline customers and airframe partners are having to adapt and so must we.

“Being told that there is no longer a job for you is a terrible prospect and it is especially hard when all of us take so much pride in working for Rolls-Royce.

“But we must take difficult decisions to see our business through these unprecedented times.”

The jobs cull will mostly affect its civil aerospace business, while the shake-up will also have an impact on central support functions.

It said its defence business in the UK and US remains unaffected and has been “robust” throughout the pandemic.

The latest overhaul comes on top of measures announced in June 2018 to axe around 4,600 jobs to save £400 million a year.

Rolls-Royce warned earlier this month that flying hours for its engines dived by 90% in April as airlines around the world temporarily grounded large proportions of their fleets.

It said at the time that its power systems division has also experienced weaker trading since the first quarter due to extended shutdowns in local markets and ongoing travel bans.

The group had already taken other actions to try and weather the pandemic, slashing its global wage bill by at least 10%, not hiring external candidates, and cutting back on consulting, non-essential travel and sub-contractor costs.

It also scrapped its final shareholder dividend payout to save £137 million and cut senior management and board pay by 20% for the rest of 2020.

PA