Airbus has warned it will reconsider its British presence if the country crashes out of the EU without a deal, prompting Theresa May’s office to insist she’s confident a deal can be done.
Airbus said late on Thursday that the UK leaving the EU without a deal in place would force it to reconsider its long-term position and put thousands of British jobs at risk. Airbus has 14,000 workers in the UK and its suppliers employ several times that number.
The danger of Brexit to Airbus is that supply chains would grind to a halt if long customs checks were imposed at the British border.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokeswoman said a deal will be done before the withdrawal from the European Union next year.
“We are confident that we are going to get a good deal, one that ensures that trade is as free and frictionless as possible, including for the aerospace sector,” a spokeswoman said yesterday.
The governments of France, Germany and Spain are among the main Airbus shareholders through the complex shareholding of its parent company, the Netherlands-based aerospace and defence group EADS.
Britain’s biggest defense manufacturer, BAE Systems, owned 20pc of Airbus, but sold the stake around a decade ago.
In a memorandum issued late on Thursday, Airbus said current plans for a transition period ending in December 2020 were still too short for the European planemaker to adapt its supply chain and would prevent it from expanding its British supplier base.
Airbus, which makes wings for all its passenger jets in Britain, said that leaving both the European Union’s single market and customs union immediately and without any agreed transition would lead to “severe disruption and interruption” of production.
“Put simply, a no-deal scenario directly threatens Airbus’ future in the UK,” said Tom Williams, chief operating officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft.
Its planes wouldn’t be able to leave the hangar unless suppliers were covered by the same safety and certification framework as the EU. (Reuters)