It will cut 1,700 jobs in the UK, along with thousands more in Germany, Spain and elsewhere.
The move is subject to talks with unions which have opposed compulsory redundancies.
The Unite union said the Airbus announcement was "another act of industrial vandalism" against the UK aerospace sector.
Some 134,000 people work for Airbus worldwide, with around a tenth of them in the UK.
The firm said the UK cuts would fall only on the commercial aircraft division at its two sites at Broughton in Flintshire and Filton, Bristol.