Will Airbus leave UK?

Just a few months ago, Airbus chief executive Tom Enders stated that if the result was a no-deal Brexit, Airbus would have to make decisions that could be very harmful to the UK.

He went on to say that the country should not presume that just because moving such a large scale business would be difficult, that it would not happen, even if it happened gradually over time. He also pointed out that there are many other countries that would be happy to build wings for Airbus. Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay commented that he was taking the warning from Airbus very seriously. With other large businesses such as Sony and Dyson also threatening to take their business out of the UK, Brexit has certainly been causing grave concerns across the board, and ultimately, large corporations will do what is best for the business, regardless of any connections with the UK or empathy for those who may lose their jobs as a result.

How many people does Airbus employ in the UK?

Currently, Airbus employs over 14,000 people directly in several locations across the country, with another 110,000 supply-chain positions depending on Airbus for their business. These are huge numbers and so it’s obvious that any move from Airbus to relocate its business out of the country would have a major effect on the UK economy.

A change of stance?

But now Airbus has declared that it wants to stay in the UK regardless of the outcome of Brexit. The new Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury has to some extent negated the comments made previously by his predecessor Tom Enders, stating that the UK is a very important pillar for Airbus and that ultimately the business wishes to stay in the UK. He spoke of the highly skilled workforce and the advanced research facilities available in the country and went on to point out that ‘UK is part of Airbus and Airbus is part of the UK and we would like to preserve that’.

What will the future hold for Airbus in the UK?

While these words seem to portray a very different attitude to that held by Airbus previously, the company has taken to Twitter to publicly state that its position on Brexit has not changed. Perhaps this is just an effort to cool the angry words of Enders a little, while nothing is certain for now. For those workers that would be affected if Airbus ceased working within the UK, it’s little reassurance, however Airbus engineers have reported that there are 20-30 years worth of orders in the pipeline and so perhaps there’s nothing to worry about for a long time yet.

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