Brexit is a ‘disgrace’ that could see Airbus leave UK, CEO says

The aerospace company’s CEO has labelled the chaotic Brexit process ‘disgraceful’ and warns British lawmakers that a no-deal exit from the EU could force it to close factories in the UK.

Airbus CEO Tom Enders and UK Prime minister Theresa May Source: Bloomberg

Airbus has warned UK lawmakers that it may be forced to move future investments out of Britain if the they are unable to break the Brexit deadlock and the country bails out of the bloc without a deal.

The aerospace company’s CEO Tom Enders criticised the ‘madness’ of Brexiteers who are willing to call the bluff of Airbus and other European businesses with ties to the UK that they won’t abandon Britain in the event of a no-deal scenario.

‘If there is a no-deal Brexit, we at Airbus will have to make potentially very harmful decisions for the UK,’ Enders said in a video published on the company’s website.

‘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.’

Airbus may slash UK jobs in no-deal scenario

The Airbus CEO has been a staunch opponent of Brexit since the initial vote back in 2016 and has repeatedly warned UK lawmakers about the catastrophic fallout a no-deal exit will cause.

The aerospace company employs around 14,000 people in the UK alone, with factories in the southwest of England and wing manufacturing unit in Wales. If a no-deal Brexit were allowed to happen, workers at these factories could see their jobs disappear over the coming years if Airbus was forced to withdraw investment from Britain.

‘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,’ Enders said. ‘If you are really sure that Brexit is best for Britain, come together and deliver a pragmatic withdrawal agreement.’

Rolls-Royce urges MPs to avoid disorderly Brexit

Airbus isn’t the only manufacturer that has raised concerns about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, with luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce fearing that its factory in the south of England will see production grind to a halt if Britain leaves the EU without a deal in place.

The company’s concerns are justified because Rolls-Royce, like many other major carmakers, have implemented a just-in-time (JIT) production system, which means that car parts are often held for no more than a day to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

And while this JIT has many advantages for carmakers, the system it is heavily reliant on frictionless trade and highly efficient supply chains, with any breakdown in either likely halting the entire production line.

‘You can plan for whatever you want but you can’t store up weeks of parts, and if the logistics chain breaks it will affect production,’ Rolls-Royce CEO Mueller-Oetvoes said at the company’s Mayfair showroom on Wednesday. ‘You only need to miss one component and you can’t finish the car.’

Trading around Brexit

Find out how the UK’s exit from the EU continues to affect traders, and discover:

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