Airbus CEO Tom Enders warns no-deal Brexit could spark 'very harmful decisions for UK'; brands govt's handling a 'disgrace'

Airbus also expressed growing frustration over Prime Minister Theresa May's faltering Brexit strategy

FP Staff January 25, 2019 16:01:08 IST
Airbus CEO Tom Enders warns no-deal Brexit could spark 'very harmful decisions for UK'; brands govt's handling a 'disgrace'
  • Enders acknowledged there would be no immediate change in its industrial presence but issued warning that future jobs are at risk

  • Enders urged Britons not to listen to "Brexiteers' madness" that Airbus would always be in Britain

  • The UK’s aerospace sector now stands at the precipice, Enders said

Airbus chief Tom Enders warned Thursday that a no-deal Brexit could prompt the European aerospace giant to make "very harmful decisions" for Britain, branding the government's handling a "disgrace".

The aircraft manufacturer currently employs 14,000 people in Britain, including sites at Filton in southwest England and Broughton in north Wales, designing and manufacturing wings.

"If there is a no-deal Brexit, we at Airbus will have to make potentially very harmful decisions for the UK," Enders warned in a video published on the group's website.

Airbus, which has repeatedly warned that Brexit could mean pulling investment out of Britain, also expressed growing frustration over Prime Minister Theresa May's faltering Brexit strategy.

"It is a disgrace that more than two years after the result of the 2016 referendum, businesses are still unable to plan properly for the future.

Airbus CEO Tom Enders warns nodeal Brexit could spark very harmful decisions for UK brands govts handling a disgrace

Representational image. Reuters

"We, along with many of our peers, have repeatedly called for clarity.

"But we still have no idea what is really going on here." Enders also urged Britons not to listen to "Brexiteers' madness" that Airbus would always be in Britain.

"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.

"They are wrong.

"Of course it is not possible to pick up and move our large UK factories to other parts of the world immediately.

"However, aerospace is a long-term business and we could be forced to re-direct future investments in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

"Make no mistake, there are plenty of countries out there who would love to build the wings for Airbus aircraft.

Enders acknowledged there would be no immediate change in its industrial presence, due to the aerospace industry’s long cycles, but issued his sharpest warning yet that future jobs are at risk.

“The UK’s aerospace sector now stands at the precipice,” Enders said .

British Brexit minister Stephen Barclay said on Thursday he took a warning from Airbus chief over the risks of a ‘no deal’ Brexit very seriously.

“I take very seriously the warning from the chief executive of Airbus,” Barclay told parliament when asked about the comments, adding that Enders supported Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal, which was last week rejected by parliament.

 

 

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