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European consortium EADS has proposed a plan to restructure its core holdings in Europe and reduce some 5,800 positions in its defense and space divisions by 2016, according to a company release. The move is yet another sign the decline in defense spending is beginning to take its toll on the industrial base. EADS presented its plan to the European Works Council on Tuesday, following a decision by the company in July to consolidate its defense and space businesses into one new division, Airbus DS, and rebrand EADS into the “Airbus Group.” The company needs to improve its competitiveness in defense and space, since its traditional markets are down, said Tom Enders, CEO of EADS. “We urgently need to improve access to international customers, to growth markets,” he added. For that to happen EADS must cut costs, eliminate product and resources overlaps, and better focus research and development, states the release. EADS is now talking with European labor entities and similar unions to address employee impacts, which will substantially consolidate sites and separate entities in Germany, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Airbus DS will begin operating at the executive level beginning Jan. 1.