Even after virus-related travel restrictions eventually ease, Chief Executive Guillaume Faury acknowledged it will take a long time to persuade customers to get back on planes. Just how long, he can’t predict.
Airbus executives expressed hope Wednesday that jet deliveries stalled by the virus could start picking up in the second half of the year. But they refused to issue long-term guidance given that the virus is still spreading, thousands of jets are grounded worldwide and governments are reluctant to relax travel restrictions.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
“We are in the gravest crisis the aerospace industry has ever known,” Faury said. “Now we need to work as an industry to restore passenger confidence in air travel as we learn to coexist with this pandemic.”
Already 3,000 Airbus workers in France are on temporary unemployment and the number is expected to grow. In addition, 3,200 workers in the U.K. are on furlough and negotiations are under way to put thousands of German workers on short work plans.
Airbus reported a 15% drop in revenues to 10.6 billion euros in the first quarter.
Shares in Airbus and Boeing have dropped some 60% this year, and airlines around the world have sought multibillion-dollar government bailouts to survive.