Airbus‘s parent firm European Aeronautic Defense and Space (EADS) is planning to axe 5,800 employees from its corporate, space and defence entities over the next three years in response to shrinking European military budgets mainly due to austerity measures.

The latest restructuring plan for its future Airbus Defence and Space Division (Airbus DS) submitted to the European Works Council comes in the wake of decision to consolidate the defence and space arm of the group into a new division and to rebrand EADS as ‘Airbus Group’.

Carried out as part of a major overhaul to trim down expenses and refocus on civil aviation, the anticipated job cuts would affect 4,500 permanent and 1,300 temporary employees, accounting for about 5% of the company’s 133,000 staff globally.

The European air and defence firm’s restructuring measures will affect 2,600 employees in Germany, 1,700 in France, 700 in Britain and 600 in Spain.

"With our traditional markets down, we urgently need to improve access to international customers, to growth markets."

EADS chief executive officer Tom Enders said the job cuts were required if the firm is going to compete and draw defence and space consumers in growing markets outside Europe.

"With our traditional markets down, we urgently need to improve access to international customers, to growth markets," Enders said.

"For that to work, we need to cut costs, eliminate product and resource overlaps, create synergies in our operations and product portfolio and better focus our research and development efforts.

"That’s what the restructuring and integration plan for our defence and space business is all about."

The majority of staff reductions are expected to be achieved via a blend of voluntary redundancies, early retirements and the expiry of around 1,300 temporary work contracts, which would bring the final involuntary layoffs to between 1,000 and 1,450 workers.

Around 1,500 positions will be created at Airbus and Eurocopter to accommodate the affected employees.

The latest job cuts will be accompanied by the merger of over ten plants in Germany, France, Britain and Spain, together with the sale of a few buildings, including its €100m corporate headquarters located just exterior of the French capital.

Defence Technology