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Covid-19: Defence firms temporarily close sites in France, Italy, Spain

Airbus, Fincantieri, Leonardo, MBDA, Navantia, and other defence companies have implemented temporary production pauses in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Airbus announced on 17 March that it would halt production at its French and Spanish factories for four days to upgrade cleaning regimens and implement “self-distancing” among employees.

Defence industrial response in Europe and North America to Covid-19. (Jane’s)

Defence industrial response in Europe and North America to Covid-19. (Jane’s)

The affected plants include six defence-related sites, all in Spain: Albacete, Barajas, CBC El Puerto de Santa Maria, Getafe, San Pablo, and Tablada. Several of these sites work on military aircraft programmes, including the Eurofighter Typhoon, A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport, and A400M and C295 transport planes.

Airbus production in Germany and the United Kingdom was unaffected as of 17 March.

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has ceased production for about two weeks, from 16 March to 29 March, including at its two naval shipyards, Muggiano and Riva Trigoso.

Fincantieri said on 13 March that the suspension would protect its employees and subcontractors, and “avoid jeopardising our future while protecting the company’s operational continuity”.

Once the suspension is over, Fincantieri plans to “restart again at full power” and meet its contractual deadlines for ship deliveries, the company said.

Leonardo’s factories and offices in Italy suspended operations for two days, 16 and 17 March, to enable “extraordinary cleaning and sanitation of company premises” and to implement new safeguards, such as keeping employees one metre apart from each other, according to a 15 March announcement from the company.

From 18 to 25 March, Leonardo intends to gradually reactivate operations while evaluating whether new safety measures are being followed. Leonardo said that those safety measures were outlined in an agreement that it signed with labour unions on 14 March.

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