Airbus Warns It Might Leave UK in Case of No Brexit Deal with EU
European plane-maker Airbus has issued a stern warning that it might leave the UK if London fails to strike a transition Brexit deal with the European Union.
If Britain’s exit from the EU, which is set for March 2019, is carried out without any transition deal, that would cause “severe disruption and interruption” of Airbus’s production in the country, the company has declared in a statement based on a newly published risk assessment.
Airbus has made it clear that such a “no Brexit deal” scenario – meaning the UK’s immediate quitting of both the European single market and the customs union – will lead it to rethink the long-term plans for its British presence.
The aerospace industry giant, which employs directly about 14,000 people in 25 locations in the UK, notes that “an orderly Brexit” is preferable to one without any deal with the EU.
However, the company sees the current post-Brexit transition deadline of December 2020 as “too short” for ironing out any major UK – EU divorce issues
“In any scenario, Brexit has severe negative consequences for the UK aerospace industry and Airbus in particular,” Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, has declared.
“Far from Project Fear, this is a dawning reality for Airbus. Put simply, a No Deal scenario directly threatens Airbus’ future in the UK,” he has warned.
In its UK facilities, Airbus makes wings for the A320, A330/A340, A350 and A380 passenger planes. It presently has more than 4,000 British suppliers but says it is going to refrain from extending its supplier base in the country because of the uncertainty caused by Brexit.
Sir Vince Cable, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, has described the Airbus warning as “the ‘Oh my God’ moment where something real is happening”.
“Airbus are making absolutely clear that if there is a risk of a hard Brexit, they will have to stockpile parts. They can’t take the risk,” he has said, as cited by BBC News.
“A hundred and ten thousand jobs depend on this company. About one-and-a-half billion in tax revenue that will not go into the NHS. We’re now beginning to get serious about what Brexit means,” Cable has declared.
Stephen Crabb, a MP from the ruling Conservative Party, has also seen the warning from Airbus as a “wake-up call” but one that should point towards “a pragmatic, sensible Brexit”.
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