Airbus has confirmed plans to cut production by a third in the face of the “unprecedented” impact of the coronavirus crisis.

The European manufacturer has been forced to react to requests from airlines to defer deliveries due to global travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

Production of the A320 short-haul aircraft is being reduced to 40 a month, with long-haul A350 down to six a month and the A330 to two a month.

Airbus booked 290 commercial aircraft orders and delivered 122 aircraft in the first quarter of the year.

A further 60 aircraft were produced in the period but they remain undelivered due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the company said.

A total of 36 aircraft were delivered last month, down from 55 in February.

“This reflects customer requests to defer deliveries, as well as other factors related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Airbus said.

The new average production rates going forward represent a reduction of the pre-coronavirus average rates of roughly one third.

“With these new rates, Airbus preserves its ability to meet customer demand while protecting its ability to further adapt as the global market evolves,” the company added.

“Airbus is also addressing a short-term cash containment plan as well as its longer-term cost structure.”

Chief executive Guillaume Faury said: “The impact of this pandemic is unprecedented.

“At Airbus, protecting our people and supporting the fight against the virus are our chief priorities at this time.

“We are in constant dialogue with our customers and supply chain partners as we are all going through these difficult times together.

“Our airline customers are heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. We are actively adapting our production to their new situation and working on operational and financial mitigation measures to face reality.”

Airbus is contributing to the development, sourcing and ferrying of medical equipment, including facemasks and ventilators, in support of medical health services.