Airbus CEO Tom Enders said it was a “disgrace” that businesses were still not able to plan ahead properly and urged the British government to sign up to a “pragmatic” withdrawal agreement.
He also had a stark warning about the consequences of no deal.
“Please don’t listen to the Brexiteers’ madness which asserts that because have huge plants here we will not move and we will always be here. They are wrong," he said, adding that although Airbus could not close its plants immediately, “there are plenty of countries out there who would love to build the wings for Airbus aircraft”.
Airbus directly employs about 14,000 people in the UK. Its biggest plant is in Broughton, Wales, where local residents voted 56% in favor of Brexit in the 2016 referendum.
Last year Airbus warned that even a negotiated exit could cost its UK operations €1 billion ($1.1 billion) per year, although now that increasingly looks like a best-case scenario.
Fears at the time that Airbus parts manufactured in the UK could lose EASA approval appear to have been assuaged by the European Commission plans for temporary approvals to stay in place and, in any case, Airbus can probably use its European operations for design approvals.
The real danger is to the just-in-time supply chains that Airbus (and many other industries) rely on.
The current (and only) exit deal protects frictionless trade in goods, but the UK parliament recently rejected this deal by a huge majority.
No alternative has won consensus among lawmakers, and while most appear desperate to avoid a no-deal Brexit, that is what will occur unless new legislation approved.