Airbus has again warned that the UK's withdrawal from the European Union could lead to a rethink of its UK investment strategy and its presence in the country.
The airframer had strongly backed the UK's remaining a member of the EU before the 'Brexit' referendum in 2016, previously noting that a vote to leave would prompt the company to review the long-term position regarding its UK operations.
Since the vote to leave the EU, Airbus chief operating officer Tom Williams has warned against the risk of disruption to its manufacturing model, especially if the UK withdraws without a future EU trade agreement in place.
Williams insists that Brexit "in any scenario" has "severe negative consequences" for the UK's aerospace industry – and for Airbus in particular. The airframer is publishing a new assessment outlining the risks to its business.
"Immediate mitigation measures would need to be accelerated," says Williams. "While Airbus understands that the political process must go on, as a responsible business we require immediate details on the pragmatic steps that should be taken to operate competitively.
"Without these, Airbus believes that the impacts on our UK operations could be significant."
Even if a withdrawal agreement is reached with the EU, Airbus believes the transition period – set to end in December 2020 – is too short for the airframer to adjust arrangements with its supply chain, and that this could restrict Airbus's UK investments.
But Williams adds that the uncertainty of the situation, and the possibility of exiting both the EU single market and its customs union, is a "dawning reality" for the company.
Such an outcome, says Airbus, would force it to reconsider its "long-term footprint" in the country, where the wings of its commercial aircraft are produced. "Put simply, a 'no deal' scenario directly threatens Airbus's future in the UK," says Williams.
Source: Cirium Dashboard