Airbus Warns No-Deal Brexit Could See It Leave UK

The company, which employs 14,000 people at 25 sites across the country, said it would "reconsider its investments in the UK."

A warning from aerospace firm Airbus that it could pull out of the UK with the loss of thousands of jobs in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit should serve as a "wake-up" call, politicians have said.

The company, which employs 14,000 people at 25 sites across the country, said it would "reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country" if Britain crashed out of the single market and customs union without a transition agreement.

Publishing a Brexit "risk assessment" on its website, the firm also called on the Government to extend the planned transition period due to run until December 2020 if a deal is agreed, saying it was too short for the business to reorganise its supply chain.

If there was no extension it would "carefully monitor any new investments in the UK and refrain from extending the UK suppliers/partners base".

The aviation giant is the biggest supplier of large aircraft to the Royal Air Force and the leading commercial provider of military satellite communications to the UK. 

Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, 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.”

He added: “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.”

Credit: Airbus

The news was greeted by anger from Labour MPs.

Darren Jones, whose Bristol North West constituency contains Airbus's Filton wing plant, attacked the Government for only listening to "hardline pro-Brexit MPs and not to the businesses that employ thousands of British workers, including Airbus".

The People's Vote supporter added: "Thousands of skilled, well-paid jobs are now on the line because of the shambolic mess the Government have created over the Brexit negotiations."

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer hit out on Twitter, saying: "If proof was needed that the PM's Brexit red lines need to be abandoned (and fast), this is it."

Ben Bradshaw MP described it as "devastating news", adding: "When are we going to wake up to the disaster of this Tory #BrexitShambles??".

Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out staying in the customs union. 

The UK government is considering two other options: a customs partnership that would remove the need for new customs checks at the border; and a "highly streamlined" customs arrangement that would minimise customs checks rather than getting rid of them altogether.

Michel Barnier, the EU's Brexit negotiator, has said that both options are unrealistic.


Cover Image: Airbus