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Aerospace and defence company Saab has decided to reduce working hours for 500 employees at its Aerostructures business unit as the coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to spread.

The Aerostructures unit lies within the Industrial Product and Services (IPS) business area. The agreement is valid from 14 April and will see most of the employees work 60% of their regular hours.

Saab IPS head Jessica Öberg said: “The coronavirus pandemic creates great uncertainty in the civil aviation industry, where both suppliers and customers temporarily close their facilities.

“Therefore, it is a matter of course for Saab to review the operations and ensure a quick transition to the new conditions. With this, we also maintain the competence and capacity that will enable future growth.”

Saab’s Aerostructures unit supplies products to the civil aviation industry.

Following the outbreak, the unit has experienced a reduction in demand and supply chain challenges.

The company has so far adjusted the business to the external circumstances and hopes to fulfil the existing contracts and commitments with adjusted staff.

Meanwhile, the company noted that its large order backlog and business model with long-term commitments has helped to keep the outbreak impact to a minimum on the group.

A business unit within IPS and a wholly owned technical consulting company of Saab, Combitech has already reduced the working hours of 120 people.

Confirmed cases of coronavirus stood at 1,279,336 globally while the death toll reached 69,844.