Concerned about the possible “no-deal” Brexit scenario, Airbus CEO Tom Enders has called for a pragmatic agreement and an “orderly” UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. If not, the company “could be forced” to redirect its future investments to other countries.
In a video-speech, released on January 24, 2019, Enders warns: “Brexit is threatening to destroy a century of [UK’s] development based on education, research and human capital”.
For Airbus, Britain is one of its four home markets and the one in which it manufactures all wings of its commercial aircraft. In a no-deal Brexit case, Enders admits the company would not be able to withdraw all of its factories from the UK immediately, but “could be forced” to rethink future investments.
The Toulouse-based company has plenty to worry about. In the past, it has been open about the fact that a no-deal Brexit would be a hard blow for its business. In June 2018, the company outlined the risks associated with the scenario, admitting that in such case its production could be “severely disrupted” and the company would need at least €1 billion worth buffer stocks – that is not including costs related to lead time and logistics disruptions.
What is more, in this case scenario disruptions would likely last for several weeks, the company estimates, “potentially translating into a multi-billion impact on Airbus,” the risk assessment paper reads. The company, whose industrial capabilities are “running at full capacity”, state that production disruptions could mean an “unrecoverable delay”: “Every week of unrecoverable delay would entail material working capital impact, re-allocation cost, cost for inefficient work, penalty payments to customers and up to €1B weekly loss of turnover”.
However, now Enders states harm that Brexit and thus, a potential Airbus’ leave, would bring to Britain. Listing 14,000 direct jobs and 110,000 indirect jobs as well as 6 billion sterling yearly turnover by Airbus UK programmes, he states: “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”.