Munich (dpa) – The European aircraft, space and defence corporation EADS rechristened itself the Airbus Group Thursday, part of a restructuring that will also see it cut thousands of jobs.

A reorganization came with the name change, which highlights the firm’s most recognizable product, Airbus airplanes.

 The European aircraft, space and defence corporation EADS rechristened itself the Airbus Group
The European aircraft, space and defence corporation EADS rechristened itself the Airbus Group

The company will now have three units instead of four. It has united its defence and space units – once known as Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military – into Airbus Defence and Space. Its Eurocopter division becomes Airbus Helicopters, while it is retaining its Airbus commercial aircraft-manufacturing division.

The company has been hit by budget cuts by European – as well as the US, Canadian and Australian – governments, which have seen defence orders reduced or eliminated. The restructuring is aimed at better integrating and streamlining Airbus operations, increasing its competitiveness and raising its brand awareness.

A priority of the restructuring is to whip the flagging defence business into shape. About 5,800 jobs are to be cut Europe-wide by 2016 in the Airbus Defence and Space division, which is headquartered in Ottobrunn, outside Munich. The Cassidian headquarters of nearby Unterschleissheim is to be shut down.

About 2,600 of the job cuts are to be made in Germany and 1,000 in France. British employees are also to be affected and 1,300 part-time positions are to be eliminated.

The Airbus Group is to negotiate the details of the job cuts with employee representatives in the coming months. The IG Metall union has demanded no layoffs and has sought support for its position from governments and politicians.

Airbus, however, has not ruled out layoffs.

The name change must still be approved by shareholders. A vote is scheduled in May.

“Joining forces under the strong Airbus brand gives all our operations and employees the thrust and lift to capture global markets,” Airbus Group chief executive Tom Enders said.

EADS was formed in 2000 by three European aerospace companies and currently employs 140,000 people.

The new structure resembles that of Airbus’ main competitor, US-based Boeing, which has two divisions, commercial airplanes and defence, space and security.