Continued investment in Britain at stake says Airbus boss as company pushes UK Government on ‘soft Brexit’
Airbus Group Chief Executive Tom Enders said the company is pushing the British Government to opt for a “soft Brexit”
A “soft Brexit” in which Britain keeps in or close to the EU’s single market would retain many trade and business benefits it had as member.
Airbus wants Britain stays in the European Union’s single market, Enders said on Sunday and warned that future Airbus investments in the UK hinged on it.
“In the UK, just like other companies, we are lobbying hard in favour of a soft Brexit,” Enders told French newspaper Le Figaro in an interview published on Sunday.
“All our planes’ wings – I’m talking about more than 1,200 wings a year – come out of our English plants,” Enders said. “What’s at stake is the continuation of our investments in Britain.”
The message from Tom Enders is not a particularly new one in terms of post Brexit investment.
Airbus wrote to their UK workforce warning of the consequences in Britain exiting the EU prior to the referendum vote last June.
The letter signed by seven senior executives of Airbus UK outlined the risks of barriers being put up between its UK operations and those in France.
Tom Williams, the company’s chief operating officer and Paul Kahn, the president of Airbus Group UK said in the letter the company’s business model is entirely based on their ability to move products, people and ideas around Europe without any restriction and feel competitiveness of the British-based operations will decrease.
In May 2015 Paul Kahn told a an audience at CBI event:
“If Britain were to leave the EU, would we suddenly close our factory in Broughton? No. With the barriers to entry that exist and the need for people with skill, passion and commitment, demanded by this type of advanced manufacturing, it would be impossible for us to start making our wings somewhere else for a number of years.”
Airbus announced last week it is to shed around 934 jobs as part of a previously announced restructuring plan according to news agency Reuters.
The report says the European plane-making giant plans to strip out bureaucracy and simplify the Airbus brand.
A total of 1,164 jobs will be lost while around 230 positions in other areas of the business will be created the report goes on to say.
Of the 1,164 job cuts, 640 positions are in France, Suresnes, Toulouse and Marignane; 429 in Germany, mainly in Hamburg, Bremen, Ulm and Ottobrunn; 39 in Spain; 54 in the United Kingdom; One in Belgium and one in India, according to management.
Airbus Group had previously said it planned merge headquarters with the core commercial aircraft business in a corporate restructure aimed at improving profitability.
In an interview with Le Figaro, the Enders said he understood the concerns of employees and was working to respond and explain the challenges of the transformational change.
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