Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier Brexit warning as Airbus signals UK withdrawal in no deal

Brexit a ‘disgrace' and plenty of countries after our business, says Airbus chief

Bombardier in Belfast.
Bombardier in Belfast.

By Jonathan Bell and PA

Bombardier has said it is "imperative" a solution is found to allow for an "orderly Brexit".

It comes after the head of Airbus branded the handling of Brexit as a “disgrace,” warning his  company could pull out of the UK if its ability to compete on the global stage is harmed by a no-deal departure.

Airbus last year took out a 50.01% share in the bombardier-built C-Series jet last year which has its wings manufactured in Belfast. It has since rebranded the aircraft as the A220.

Bombardier said continued uncertainty around Brexit "did not help business".

"Bombardier has been advocating for an orderly Brexit," the company said in a statement.

"This continued uncertainty, and the real prospect of leaving the EU with no deal, does not help with business planning. It is imperative that Parliament finds a resolution that works for UK business."

Tom Enders, chief executive of aerospace giant Airbus which employs more than 14,000 people in the UK with around 110,000 more jobs connected in supply chains, said crashing out of Europe could force the company to make “potentially very harmful decisions” about its UK operations.

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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. Tom Enders

He said there would be plenty of countries around the world that would love to build parts of his planes.

“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," he said.

“We, along with many of our peers, have repeatedly called for clarity, but we still have no idea what is really going on here.”

“Brexit is threatening to destroy a century of development based on education, research and human capital,” he said.

“If there’s a no-deal Brexit, we at Airbus will have to make potentially very harmful decisions for the UK.”

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Airbus has launched the C Series jet renaming it the A220. Pic: Ryan McAleer, Belfast Telegraph Business Correspondent, in Toulouse

Airbus’s UK operations generate around £6 billion of turnover annually, making it the country’s largest aerospace company.

At its 25 sites it builds components for a broad spectrum of products from planes to helicopters and satellites.

“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,” Mr Enders said.

“Of course it is not possible to pick up and move our large UK factories to other parts of the world immediately. However, aerospace is a long-term business and we could be forced to redirect future investments in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“And, make no mistake, there are plenty of countries out there who would love to build the wings for Airbus aircraft.”

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