Aerospace & Defense

EADS cuts 5,800 jobs amid massive restructuring

Kiran Moodley and Katrina Bishop
An A380 aircraft under construction at an EADS factory in Toulouse, France
Pascal Parrot | Getty Images

European aerospace group EADS, which owns Airbus, has announced plans to cut 5,800 jobs at its defense and space unit by the end of 2016.

In a statement, EADS said it would embark upon "substantial consolidation" across sites in Germany, France, Spain and the U.K. as part of its restructuring plan, which it presented to the company's European Works Council Monday.

The aerospace and defense giant, which is part-owned by the French and German governments, has around 140,000 employees worldwide.

(Read more: EADS sees flat to lower defense revenue)

Tom Enders, CEO of EADS, said the company needed to improve its competitiveness in the defense and space sectors, "and we need to do it now." It has been battling with significant cut-backs in European defense spending.

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

"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 defense and space business is all about."

(Read more: European defense companies call for European drone program)

Earlier this year, the company announced that it was planning to combine its defense and space subsidiaries into a new Airbus Defence and Space Division. The move is part of a broader rebranding of EADS as Airbus Group, which will have two other divisions: Airbus and Airbus Eurocopter, the group's helicopter unit.

The restructuring at EADS comes as the company looks to streamline its various businesses, and double margins to 10 percent by mid-decade.

And its rebranding as Airbus is about more than just appearances — Airbus is now the dominant business at EADS, with passenger jet orders surging.