Airbus’ CEO, Tom Enders, has reiterated his warning that Airbus could be forced to move its operations elsewhere in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
In an online video, Enders warned that the UK’s aerospace sector now stands “at the precipice”.
Airbus has issued previous warnings on the impact of Brexit but this is its strongest yet.
“Brexit is threatening to destroy a century of development based on education, research and human capital,” Enders said. “If there’s a no-deal Brexit, we at Airbus will have to make potentially very harmful decisions for the UK, which would be ironic considering that back in the mid-1990s, it was UK industry that were the architects of greater European aerospace integration.”
He added: “Please don’t listen to the Brexiteers’ madness which asserts that because we have huge plans 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 redirect future investments in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Make no mistakes, there are plenty of countries out there who would love to build the wings for Airbus aircraft.”
Lamenting the lack of clarity on Brexit, Enders called it a “disgrace” that more than two years, after the result of the 2016 referendum, businesses are still unable to plan properly for the future.
“We, along with many of our peers, have repeatedly called for clarity, but we still have no idea what is really going on here,” he said.
He added: “As we prepare to celebrate Airbus’ 50th anniversary, we at Airbus look back fondly on everything we have achieved with our magnificent UK workforce.
“The global market for aviation is growing at 5% each year, but we are not dependent on the UK for our future. Airbus will survive and thrive whatever the outcome.
“The question is, does the UK wish to be a part of that future success?”
Enders is set to move on from the CEO role at Airbus in April. Guillaume Faury, who is currently Airbus’ President of Commercial Aircraft, will take over.