Aviation, Defense Industries Feel Pinch of Coronavirus Crisis

The stocks of companies in those industries have dropped significantly. Many of the companies were forced to temporarily close their facilities due to the spread of the virus

Factories related to the production of the F-35 aircraft have been shut down. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a blow to the defense and aviation industries.

GE Aviation, a manufacturer of engines, is laying off 10 percent of its global workforce. The main reason is the slowdown of the civilian aviation sector. Canadian simulator manufacturer CAE is cutting 465 jobs and reducing salaries in order to improve its cash flow.

In Japan and Italy, factories involved in the production of the F-35 fighter jet have been closed. Ellen Lord, undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment at the US Defense Department, told reporters that it had come to her attention that Lockheed Martin workers in Italy have been instructed to work from home because of concerns over the virus. In addition, Lockheed has restricted its workers from traveling to the Italian facility on the instructions of the State Department. The staff of engine aircraft manufacturer Pratt & Whitney in the Italian city of Cameri has been told to work remotely as well.

Lockheed, Raytheon and Honeywell were among the dozens of companies that participated in the Singapore Airshow, which is usually the biggest defense exhibition in Asia. Boeing, Raytheon and European missile manufacturer MDBA temporarily closed factories following the spread of the virus.

Also, stocks of such companies have lost trading value. Besides the aforementioned firms, United Technologies also suffered a blow. Also, the SPADE defense index, a benchmark that tracks companies in the military and security sector, dropped by dozens of percentage points during the last few days.

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