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Airbus CEO Says Dollar Fall is 'Life-Threatening'

The weakness of the dollar is threatening the survival of European planemaker Airbus, its chief executive, Tom Enders, told employees in a speech in Hamburg on Thursday.

An Airbus A380 in take off.
Rajesh Nirgude
An Airbus A380 in take off.

Workers at the firm, owned by European aerospace and defense group EADS, had to prepare for further major cost cuts to help counter the impact of the currency, he said, according to a spokesman for the company.

"The dollar's rapid decline is life-threatening for Airbus," Enders said in the speech. "The dollar exchange rate has gone beyond the pain barrier."

Airbus's entire business model had to be reviewed as "reasonable processes of adjustment" were hardly possible any more, he said, adding that management was looking at radical measures that would be introduced in coming weeks.

"There will be no more taboos," Enders said.

All major costs would be examined, though this did not mean talk of additional job cuts and plant closures, the spokesman said.

Airbus is already shedding about 10,000 jobs and selling plants as part of its Power8 restructuring plan after delays to its A380 superjumbo drove the planemaker into a loss last year. Airbus complains the weak dollar favors U.S. rival Boeing.

The dollar hit new record lows against the euro on Thursday as the euro reached $1.4873, according to Reuters data, bringing the euro's year-to-date gains to around 12.5 percent.

EADS acknowledged earlier this month that its controversial restructuring plans were inadequate to cope with the dollar's slide. It said then that the aerospace group would have to find 1 billion euros ($1.48 billion) in new savings between now and 2010-11.