Airbus warns hard Brexit will cause business to ‘grind to a halt’

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Airbus has warned the UK government that it must provide a clearer vision of the country’s post-Brexit relationship with the European Union or risk a decline in investment in the aviation industry.

Writing in the Financial Times, Airbus chief executive Tom Enders called the lack of clarity on Brexit a situation that is “damaging and hard to bear”.

“A transition arrangement for the UK’s departure will be a positive step, once it is signed. But this is a temporary solution – it does not solve all the issues that need to be addressed,” Mr Enders told the FT on Wednesday.

“We must have more clarity on the UK’s long-term relationships, not just for the next 20 months.” 

The manufacturer’s CEO called for the UK to remain within the EU aviation safety certification agency to ensure new planes gain the necessary rights to fly.

“My business, aviation, is by its very nature global,” he said.

“Aerospace manufacturers, whose products must meet rigorous safety and certification standards, cannot let political whims drive the crucial issue facing our industry: no certification, no fly.”

Mr Enders warned that a hard Brexit would force delays to supply chains “causing our business to grind to a halt”.

Airbus spends £5bn a year with UK suppliers and predicts Brexit will affect 672 sites. The manufacturer says it supports 117,000 jobs in the UK.

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