European aviation giant Airbus has issued its harshest threat on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, saying it will cease wing assembly operations in the country if it leaves the EU without a deal.
Airbus CEO Tom Enders said on Thursday that the company would move its wing assembly lines abroad under a “no-deal” Brexit while warning that the scenario would also cause the company to reconsider its future investments in the UK.
Airbus employs around 14,000 people in the UK while some 110,000 more roles in the wider economy are also affected by the company’s operations in the country.
The company’s main wing assembly factory is stationed in Broughton, in Wales, while it runs another major site in Filton, near Bristol, in southwest England.
The warning comes amid a deadlock in the British parliament about Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Lawmakers rejected the controversial agreement by a majority of 230 on January 15 and forced May to come up with a new solution.
The premier, however, has mostly stood by her deal, saying if the lawmakers reject an improved version of the agreement in the coming weeks, she would have no option but to bring Britain out of the EU on March 29 without a deal.
Enders said, however, that a no-deal scenario would compel Airbus to redirect its future investment to other countries.
“Of course it’s 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,” he said.
The top Airbus official warned that UK’s position “at the forefront of global aviation for more than a century” was clearly threatened by a no-deal Brexit.
File photo shows a view to Airbus’ main wing assembly facility in Broughton, west of the UK.
“In a global economy, the UK no longer has the capability to go it alone,” said.