Airbus has announced plans to at least partially resume production and assembly work in France Spain, following the implementation of “stringent measures” as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The manufacturer had been forced to temporarily pause production at its sites in France and Spain, in order to carry out “extensive work in coordination with its social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while securing business continuity”.

It said that work would partially resume today (Monday March 23), but that workstations would only reopen “if they comply with the new health and safety measures in terms of hygiene, cleaning and self-distancing while improving the efficiency of operations under new working conditions”.

Airbus said that the same measures were also being deployed across all other sites.

The group’s final assembly line in the Chinese city of Tianjin reopened last month following a temporary stoppage, and is now operating “efficiently”.

In addition Airbus says that it is “supporting those in the health, emergency and public services that rely on its aircraft, helicopters, satellites and services to accomplish their critical missions”, and has donated thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe. It used a test A330-800 aircraft to transport around two million masks from Tianjin, and additional flights are planned for the coming days.

Commenting on the news Airbus chief executive officer Guillaume Faury said:

“Health and safety is our number one priority at Airbus so the work stations at our sites in France and Spain will only re-open if they meet the required standards. I’d like to salute the strong commitment from our employees to ensure business continuity in close cooperation with our social partners and other stakeholders.

“At the same time we are doing all we can to support those on the frontline to fight the coronavirus and limit its spread. We try to live up to our values, humbled by the complexity of the situation, and contribute as much as we can to society in these very difficult times.”