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Airbus warns could leave Britain if no Brexit deal

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European aviation giant Airbus warned Thursday it could be forced to pull out of the UK if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal.

[PARIS] European aviation giant Airbus warned Thursday it could be forced to pull out of the UK if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal.

In a Brexit risk assessment, Airbus said Britain withdrawing from the EU without a deal "would lead to severe disruption and interruption of UK production".

"This scenario would force Airbus to reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country, severely undermining UK efforts to keep a competitive and innovative aerospace industry, developing high value jobs and competences," it warned.

"Put simply, a no deal scenario directly threatens Airbus' future in the UK," Tom Williams, chief operating officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, said in a statement.

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In its risk assessment, Airbus said under a "no deal" scenario, delays and disruptions to its production could cost it up to one billion euros (S$1.63 billion) a week in lost turnover.

It said a no-deal Brexit "would be catastrophic" for the aviation group.

Airbus employs 14,000 people at more than 25 sites in Britain, where it manufactures the wings of its aircraft.

"In any scenario, Brexit has severe negative consequences for the UK aerospace industry and Airbus in particular," Mr Williams said.

"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," he said.

"Without these, Airbus believes that the impacts on our UK operations could be significant. We have sought to highlight our concerns over the past 12 months, without success."

On the future trade relationship between Britain and the EU, Airbus said the current transition period, which runs until December 2020, "is too short for the EU and UK Governments to agree the outstanding issues, and too short for Airbus to implement the required changes with its extensive supply chain".

"In this scenario, Airbus would carefully monitor any new investments in the UK and refrain from extending the UK suppliers/partners base."

Britain is due to leave the European Union in March 2019 but continue the current trading arrangements during the transition phase to December 2020 to give time for the two sides to agree the terms of a new partnership.

AFP