The blow, blamed by the firm on the coronavirus crisis hitting airlines, will have a knock-on effect at parts and service suppliers in the supply chain, thousands of which are in Lancashire which is an aerospace hub.
Steve Fogg, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership said: “The impact of Covid-19 on the aerospace sector has been significant and the announcement by Airbus is a further blow to Lancashire businesses operating within their supply chain.
"These are high value jobs and offer an array apprenticeships for our younger generation and we must do what we can to preserve these.
"That is why the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership has recently established an Aerospace Task Force which is made up of Lancashire business leaders working in the sector to look at the longer –term impact of this pandemic and the interventions and support that is needed by Government to ensure the crisis does not lead to irreversible damage to this sector in Lancashire.’’
The news is a huge blow to Airbus' site at Broughton in north Wales, where wings are manufactured and transported to Europe where the jets are assembled, and its other factory at Filton in Bristol.
The company is cutting 15,000 jobs across its global operations.
A company statement said: “Airbus has announced plans to adapt its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
“This adaptation is expected to result in a reduction of around 15,000 positions no later than summer 2021.
“The information and consultation process with social partners has begun with a view to reaching agreements for implementation starting in autumn 2020.”
Airbus said commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by almost 40% in recent months as the industry faces an “unprecedented” crisis.
The statement continued: “Airbus is grateful for the Government support that has enabled the company to limit these necessary adaptation measures.
“However with air traffic not expected to recover to pre-Covid levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post Covid-19 industry outlook.”
Paul Everitt, chief executive of trade body ADS said: “This is undoubtedly the toughest period the global aerospace industry has ever faced.
“Being the largest commercial aircraft company in the UK, Airbus is central to our aerospace industry and has a close relationship with its highly-integrated UK supply chain. This difficult news will be unsettling for their employees and those working as part of the supply chain."
Airbus is also planning to cut 5,000 jobs in France, 5,100 in Germany, 900 in Spain and 1,300 positions at its other worldwide sites.