Airbus threatens UK flight over Brexit ′madness′ | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 24.01.2019
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Airbus threatens UK flight over Brexit 'madness'

Airbus could move investments out of the UK if there is a no-deal Brexit. Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders called the UK's position a "disgrace" as more firms pull the plug on a UK still stuck in political quagmire.

Farnborough International Airshow (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Dunham)

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Airbus CEU Tom Enders in front of an Airbus 380 military plane at the Farnborough Air Show

Airbus CEO Tom Enders said on Thursday the European planemaker could move future investments out of the UK if there is a no-deal Brexit.

"If there is a no-deal Brexit, we at Airbus will have to make potentially very harmful decisions for the UK," Enders said. "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."

"Make no mistake, there are plenty of countries out there who would love to build the wings for Airbus aircraft," he went on

Enders said the global aviation market was growing 5 percent a year, but that Airbus was not dependent on the UK for its future.

"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."

A torrid week

Enders' comments are his strongest since the 2016 Brexit referendum and raise pressure on Theresa May, the British prime minister, who is struggling to cobble together a deal in Parliament.

Adding insult to injury, Japanese electronics giant Sony said it was moving its European headquarters from near London to the Netherlands, while UK appliance maker Dyson revealed this week it would move its base from the UK to Singapore in 2019.

Jobs at risk

Airbus, which is based in Toulouse, France, directly employs 14,000 people in the UK and supports another 110,000. The company has production sites in Filton, in the southwest of England, and in Wales where it manufactures wings for its commercial aircraft.

It has been stockpiling parts at its plants in the UK and Germany to try to mitigate against any immediate impact of the hard borders that a no-deal Brexit would mean. The company said that while it expects to have enough stock to cover production for one month, it can't be fully prepared.

jbh/mm (AP, AFP)

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