European aviation giant Airbus has warned that Brexit runs the risk of destroying success the company has achieved over the last 40 years.
Speaking exclusively to Sky News business presenter Ian King, Airbus chief operating officer Tom Williams said his firm has been a “tremendous success story”, adding: “It would be criminal if we were to destroy that now and that’s the risk we run.”
Mr Williams said the aeronautics company backed Theresa May’s Chequers Brexit white paper, adding that Airbus was “very encouraged” by the prime minister’s attempts to find practical solutions on frictionless movement of parts and components between the UK and eurozone.
Image: Tens of thousands of jobs could be at risk at the European aeronautics giant
Airbus has been a vocal supporter of the UK remaining within the European Union, and has been critical of the government’s approach to preparing for the country’s departure.
The company employs 14,000 people at several sites across the country. including Bristol, Stevenage, Portsmouth and north Wales.
:: Airbus threatens to leave the UK because of uncertainty over Brexit
Established in 1970, Airbus in its current form was forged amid the consolidation of the European aerospace industry at the turn of the 21st century.
Video: Airbus: Brexit Will Put Us At Risk
The firm, which has signed a provisional deal worth $11bn for 100 of its A320 aircraft, is not the only aeronautics company which has revealed its fears over Brexit.
Rival Rolls-Royce Engines has said the lack of clarity on the UK’s departure from the bloc means it might have to stockpile parts if Britain started showing signs of a chaotic exit from the European Union.
Rolls-Royce chief executive Warren East said the uncertainty around the UK’s departure meant the company was having to plan for all scenarios, including a disorderly, so-called ‘no-deal’ Brexit that could see the country crash out of the EU without an agreement on future trading relations.
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Asked by reporters at the Farnborough Airshow whether contingency plans meant Rolls-Royce had needed to stockpile parts, Mr East said: “Not yet, but we might have to.”
He said the point at which the engine-maker might have to begin was months away, “probably in Q4 this year.”