Airbus has threatenened to exit the UK due to the Brexit “disgrace” saying it will move its operations abroad if the UK opts for a no deal “madness”.
In a company video release online, chief executive officer, Tom Enders warned it could shift wing production from the UK in future and said “potentially very harmful decisions” were on the horizon without a smooth exit from the European Union (EU), referring to politicians’ failure to achieve clarity on the issue to date as a “disgrace”.
UK MPs are yet to reach an agreement as earlier this month they voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject the deal struck by Prime Minister Theresa May with the EU and as it stands, the UK will leave the EU with ‘no deal’ on 29 March when Article 50 is triggered.
Business leaders from all industries have lambasted the situation and the prospect of the UK ‘crashing out’ with a ‘no deal’ as they have grave economic concerns over the UK going it alone and exiting the bloc without a deal.
Enders has been consistent in his opposition to Brexit from the outset but this is the first time he said its wing assembly lines would be moved abroad under a ‘no-deal’ scenario.
The French aircraft manufacturer said there would be no immediate change to its UK operations because of the company’s production cycles but warned the UK’s position “at the forefront of global aviation for more than a century” was clearly threatened.
Airbus employs more than 14,000 staff in the UK, mainly at its two biggest sites at Filton and Broughton. Broughton is where much of the production takes place.
Enders said: “Please don’t listen to the Brexiteers’ madness which asserts that because we have huge plants here, we will not move and we will always be here.”
He added it was possible to pick up and move large UK factories to other parts of the world immediately, but aerospace is a long term business and Airbus would be forced to redirect future investments in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
“In a global economy, the UK no longer has the capability to go it alone,” he said. Enders said it was a “disgrace” that British business were unable to plan for the future after more than two years since the referendum result after repeatedly asking for clarity.
Enders warned Airbus is “not dependent” on the UK for its future and will “survive and thrive whatever the outcome” and as aerospace is a multi-national business, other countries would jump at the chance to have production sites to build their aircraft.
He concluded: “The question is – does the UK wish to be part of that future success. If you are really sure Brexit is the best for Great Britain – come together to deliver a pragmatic Wihtdrawal Agreement that delivers an orderly Brexit.”
(Video courtesy of Airbus website)