Airbus says production ‘could’ move out of Britain unless Brexit demands are met
Airbus Chiefs have laid out a set of non-negotiable demands on Brexit, warning it may move production abroad if they are not met according to reports the Sunday Times.
With German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Theresa May agreeing to begin Brexit talks in the “next couple of weeks” Airbus chief operating officer Fabrice Bregier has set out “minimum” demands on Brexit including the free movement of workers, trade tariffs and regulatory conditions the newspaper says.
Bregier said any deal must allow the plane manufacturers staff from all over the world to enter Britain easily, ensure that parts are exempt from trade tariffs and ensure certain regulatory standards are maintained.
Otherwise, he said, Britain would risk losing Airbus production in the future.
[miptheme_quote author=”Fabrice Bregier / Sunday Times” style=”text-left”]For new productions, it’s very easy to have a new plant somewhere in the world. We would have plenty of offers to do that.
We want to stay in the UK — provided the conditions to work in an integrated organisation are met [/miptheme_quote]
Airbus builds wings for around fifty percent of the world’s aircraft at Broughton and has a wing-design facility at Filton, Bristol,
The two sites have about 10,000 staff, Airbus claims it also supports around 100,000 UK supply chain jobs.
The company has always warned Brexit may see a reduction in investment in the UK and while wing production for the best-selling A320 and A380 would remain at Broughton, Brégier warned the next generation of models could go to other countries.
“For new productions, it’s very easy to have a new plant somewhere in the world. We would have plenty of offers to do that,” Bregier said, Germany has long coveted Britain’s wing manufacturing and would be likely to offer state support the report says.
Mobility between our sites in Europe is crucial
As the polls closed on Thursday night and Britain headed for a hung parliament Chief Executive of Airbus Group Tom Enders was quoted in a report by Bloomberg, he said;
We are a company that obviously has an interest in a free flow of people, mobility between our sites in Europe is crucial. Sending people from Toulouse to Broughton, from Broughton to Hamburg and so on, that is very important.
While Airbus’s U.K. sites are among the most efficient in the entire group “any tariff barriers could also potentially impact the competitiveness of our activities in Britain.
The CEO added that while he’s hopeful the government will understand the “huge importance” of the aerospace and defence industry to the country, there can be no certainties.
[miptheme_quote author=”Tom Enders” style=”text-left”]We’re not the government, and it’s the government, the new one or old one in the U.K, and on the continent, and Brussels, that will have to go into what seem to me very difficult negotiations. And then we will evaluate what the outcome means for us.[/miptheme_quote]
Less gloomy outlook perhaps?
Bregier said the group’s position in Britain is “a long-term one,” while cautioning that it needs to be able to operate as an integrated company after Brexit just as it does now, reported Bloomberg.
Speaking after the result of the U.K. election became known, he added “there are solutions” for all of the major issues.
Airbus campaigned openly for the U.K. to remain within the EU prior to last year’s Brexit vote, while making clear that it didn’t intend to leave Britain in the event of a victory for the “Leave” campaign the Bloomberg report says.
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