Airbus threatens to leave the United Kingdom because of uncertainty over Brexit

22 Juin, 2018, 13:39 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Matt Cardy  Getty Images

Aerospace firm Airbus has warned it could pull out of the United Kingdom with the loss of thousands of jobs at 25 sites across the country in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit.

Airbus employs about 14,000 people at 25 different sites in the UK.

Last week, the outgoing president of the CBI said sections of United Kingdom industry faced extinction unless the United Kingdom stayed in the EU customs union.

The customs union enables the European Union's 28 member states to function as a single trading area with no tariffs or border checks.

While that is the government's intention, Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out staying in either for the longer term and there is growing fear that a deal may not be concluded in time. The UK is due to leave the European Union on Friday, 29 March, 2019.

The move follows the citizens' rights agreement with the European Union, which guaranteed the rights of European Union citizens living in the United Kingdom and UK nationals living in other European Union member states.

Airbus, which makes wings for all its passenger jets in Britain, said that leaving both the EU's single market and customs union immediately and without any agreed transition would lead to "severe disruption and interruption" of production.

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As a result, the company would "carefully monitor any new investments in the UK" and refrain from extending its base of British suppliers and partners, it added.

Bennett said Airbus spends about £5bn each year on the United Kingdom supply chain.

Tom Williams, the chief operating officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, said Brexit would have "severe negative consequences for the United Kingdom aerospace industry and Airbus in particular" in any scenario.

Further, without a deal he said Airbus believed the impacts on its United Kingdom operations could be "significant".

He called for more clarity on the situation, adding: "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.

"This scenario would force Airbus to reconsider its investments in the United Kingdom, and its long-term footprint in the country", it added.

The Welsh Government said Airbus' warning was "extremely worrying". One large production center in Wales manufacturers the wings used on all Airbus civil aircraft. This is a wake-up call. Under no Brexit deal, the aerospace firm said it would be forced to reconsider its footprint in the United Kingdom, putting thousands of high-skilled jobs at risk. "If proof was needed that the PM's Brexit red lines need to be abandoned (and fast), this is it", he tweeted. We have repeatedly warned that the United Kingdom can not take the huge economic risk of cutting ourselves adrift from the Single Market and Customs Union.

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