Airbus warns it could leave UK amid no-deal Brexit

Airbus, which employs more than 6,000 at its plant in Broughton, near Chester, on Friday published a risk assessment outlining the “urgent risks” to its business “arising from the UK exiting the European Union without a withdrawal agreement.”

“Put simply, a No Deal scenario directly threatens Airbus’ future in the UK,” said Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft.

Williams said that “in any scenario” Brexit has “severe negative consequences” for the UK aerospace industry and Airbus in particular.

Airbus said that the UK exiting the EU next year without a deal – leaving both the single market and customs union immediately and without any agreed transition – would lead to “severe disruption and interruption” of its UK production.

This scenario “would force Airbus to reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country, severely undermining UK efforts to keep a competitive and innovative aerospace industry, developing high value jobs and competences.”

Airbus directly employs 14,000 people at 25 sites in the UK and supports more than 100,000 jobs in the wider UK supply chain.

Williams said: “In any scenario, Brexit has severe negative consequences for the UK aerospace industry and Airbus in particular.

“Therefore, immediate mitigation measures would need to be accelerated.

“While Airbus understands that the political process must go on, as a responsible business we require immediate details on the pragmatic steps that should be taken to operate competitively.

“Without these, Airbus believes that the impacts on our UK operations could be significant.

“We have sought to highlight our concerns over the past 12 months, without success.

“Far from Project Fear, this is a dawning reality for Airbus. Put simply, a No Deal scenario directly threatens Airbus’ future in the UK.”

Airbus added: “On the future trade relationship between the UK and EU, the memorandum makes clear that while an orderly Brexit with a withdrawal agreement is preferable to a no-deal scenario, the current planned transition (which ends in December 2020) is too short for the EU and UK Governments to agree the outstanding issues, and too short for Airbus to implement the required changes with its extensive supply chain.

“In this scenario, Airbus would carefully monitor any new investments in the UK and refrain from extending the UK suppliers/partners base.”