Brexit U-turn: Airbus ‘very committed’ to UK headquarters as EU snubbed – major jobs boost

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Chief executive of Airbus, Guillaume Faury, said the company was “very committed to the UK” and the two plants near Bristol and Wales were “very competitive”. He explained how securing a trade deal with the EU meant the company had a “credible and long-term partnership”.

Mr Faury continued: “We really like the environment we have there, it’s very competitive, we have a strong relationship with our partners over there, the Government, and projects for the future.

“In the field of wings Broughton [Wales] and Filton [Bristol] have a very, very important role to play moving forward for Airbus.

“It is just that simple.”

This comes after Airbus was one of the most vocal businesses to oppose Brexit and warned of the potential dangers.

They said in a statement: “The decision by the UK to leave the EU will set new boundary conditions cutting through this highly integrated system.

“Brexit thus raises major operational challenges for Airbus as UK employees and suppliers are today key and efficient contributors to Airbus’ success.”

But it is clear the company has made a U-turn on the Brexit outcome and potential for a long-term partnership.

Airbus employs more than 13,500 people in the UK, including 6,000 at its site in Broughton.

Last month, Mr Faury said the future of its British wing plants is “secure” and there was “great potential to expand” after the Brexit deal was signed in December.

The chief executive – who took up his role in April – said at the time: “While global uncertainty won’t end with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, Brexit is, at least, now for certain.

“But the nature of the future relationship between the UK and EU is still to be determined.

“Airbus is committed to the UK and to working with the new Government on an ambitious industrial strategy.

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“We see great potential to improve and expand our operations in the UK this year.”

While support for Brexit has seemingly changed, the aircraft maker says the coronavirus pandemic “continues to impact lives, economies and societies”.

The European aerospace giant warned last summer it would face the “gravest crisis” in its history due to the pandemic.

Airbus announced in June it planned to cut as many as 15,000 jobs, including 1,700 in the UK.

Mr Faury added: “The crisis is not over. It is likely to continue to be our reality throughout the year.”

He added how airlines “will continue to suffer” and to “burn cash”.

Peter McNally, an industry expert at research firm Third Bridge, said: “Commercial airlines are off to a difficult start in 2021 and the outlook from Airbus reflects that.

“The situation could improve as vaccines are more widely distributed, but Airbus executives note most of their customer base will be burning cash most of this year.

“The bright side is that leisure travel has been the area that has started its recovery first, and the Airbus order book is geared for that eventual uptick with their A320 fleet.”

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