Airbus threatens to leave UK if there is no ‘substantial’ Brexit deal

Airbus has warned the UK the company may be forced to shed thousands of jobs and leave the country if it exits the European Union without a substantial deal on March 29 next year. The government led by Prime Minister Theresa May claims Brexit talks are progressing and trade after Britain’s pull-out will be free and smooth including in the aerospace sector. However, talks are stuck over the issue of Irish border and Britain’s silence on what it wants. EU leaders say time is running out and Britain has to be prepared for a no-deal exit. Tom Williams, chief operating officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, said a no-deal scenario directly threatens Airbus’s future in the UK. Airbus makes wings (production unit in Filton, UK, pictured) and landing gear for all its passenger jets in the UK, runs a space technology centre there, directly employs more than 14,000 people and supports 117,000 jobs. The European plane-maker sought details on how its operations have to be realigned during the Brexit transition period. Williams said without clarity on future operations, it is dangerous to proceed as the company has to take long-term decisions.

Following Airbus threat, BMW, German car giant, said called on the British government to declare its preferred position on trade and customs with the European Union once it leaves the bloc. The car-maker’s special representative in the UK, Ian Robertson, said the company needed clarity by the end of the summer.