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Coronavirus forces Airbus to pause production in Spain and France

FILE - In this June 18, 2015 filephoto, an Airbus A380 takes off for its demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show, in Le Bourget airport, north of Paris. The World Trade Organization says the United States can impose tariffs on up to $7.5 billion worth of goods from the European Union as retaliation for illegal subsidies to European plane-maker Airbus — a record award from the trade body. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
Aan Airbus A380 takes off for a demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Airbus (AIR.PA) on Tuesday said that it had suspended production at its facilities in France and Spain, after both countries entered into coronavirus-related lockdowns.

The factories, the European planemaker said, would close for four days so that the company can implement new hygiene standards.

“These measures will be implemented locally in coordination with the social partners,” the company said in a statement.

“Airbus is also working together with its customers and suppliers to minimise the impact of this decision on their operations.”

Shares in Airbus, which have fallen by more than 45% so far this month, declined by more than 6.6% on Tuesday.

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Read more: Travel stocks worst hit as coronavirus pushes Italy to take over Alitalia

Travel and aviation industry stocks have been among the worst hit in Europe, as the sector contends with the spiralling coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, Airlines across the continent — including EasyJet (EZJ.L), Ryanair (RYA.L), Virgin Atlantic, and Norwegian Air (NAS.OL) — slashed their schedules and suspended operations.

Meanwhile, a draft decree seen by Reuters showed that the Italian government has set aside €600m (£535m) to keep Alitalia, the country’s flag carrier, afloat.

Airbus said that it was carefully monitoring World Health Organization guidelines, and that it was assessing the potential effects on the virus on its suppliers, personnel, and operations.

Read more: UK to unveil new financial measures to combat coronavirus impact

“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 said about the new measures.

“In those countries, the company will also continue to maximise homeworking wherever possible.”

Spanish transport minister José Luis Ábalos said on Monday that the lockdown in Spain will last more than 15 days, while French president Emmanuel Macron said that France was “at war” with the virus.

France will deploy 100,000 police officers to enforce the 15-day lockdown ordered in the country.

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