Airbus Will Still Make Wings In Britain Following Brexit

The Chief Executive of Airbus, Guillaume Faury, has injected some optimism into the UK’s uncertain post-Brexit future. Speaking at the company’s New Year’s reception in London yesterday, Faury affirmed the company’s intention to continue manufacturing its wings in the UK and even hinted at possible expansion later in the year.

Airbus UK wings brexit
Airbus plans to continue manufacturing wings in the UK after Brexit. Photo: Airbus

Airbus will stay in the UK

The ongoing saga of Brexit is set to reach a milestone later this month, with the UK set to leave the EU on January 31st. The lack of clarity on exactly how things will work after it happens has led to speculation on everything from flying rights to job security. However, one major UK employer has given its British workers a modicum of confidence this week.

Airbus has signaled that it is keen to continue making wings in the UK, even after the nation leaves the EU. Indeed, its CEO Guillaume Faury has been reported by Bloomberg as showing signs of wanting to expand in the UK once Brexit has happened. He is quoted as saying,

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“Airbus is committed to the U.K. and to working with the new government on an ambitious industrial strategy.”

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Airbus UK wings brexit
Previously, it was feared Brexit might lead to job losses from Airbus in the UK. Photo: Airbus

Airbus currently employs over 13,500 individuals across 25 sites in the UK. In addition to this, it supports more than 100,000 jobs in the supply chain. Previously, under ex-CEO Tom Enders, the company claimed it might abandon its UK arm in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Now, however, it seems Airbus is firmly behind the UK, and has no plans to leave.

Expansion on the cards

Currently Airbus relies on the UK to make wings for all models of its aircraft. The fabrication is done at a number of sites, with the main ones being close to Bristol, Chester and Belfast. Design and early parts of the fabrication take place in Filton, Bristol and at the Belfast plant, operated by Spirit AeroSystems, while the main assembly takes place in Broughton near Chester.

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Airbus UK wings brexit
The site in Broughton takes care of final assembly of the wings. Photo: Airbus

With orders backing up for all Airbus’ models, the work just keeps coming for these plants. Indeed, Faury noted his commitment to the UK and indicated there could be some expansion on the cards in 2020, saying,

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

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Andrea Leadsom, was also at the event, and didn’t hold back in declaring her happiness at Airbus’ continued support in the UK. She said,

“While Airbus is undoubtedly a European company – it’s also something of a national treasure. For decades, the UK has had the privilege – and it is a privilege – of being one of Airbus’s 4 ‘home nations’. And it was great to hear Guillaume say that Airbus remains committed to the UK. So please rest assured that we also remain absolutely committed to Airbus – and to the industry as a whole.”

Airbus UK wings brexit
Infographic: Airbus

Leadsom also noted that the UK would continue to support Airbus and the EU in its efforts to negotiate a settlement in the clash between Airbus and the US over illegal subsidies.

Although the UK is still waiting to find out exactly what lies ahead on the other side of the Brexit door, Airbus, for now at least, is voting confidently to keep building wings in the nation.

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TheDude

Can someone explain the brexit delay to me? The people voted for it a while ago, correct? Why has it been taking so long? Is it just like the US meaning that politicians and special interest groups make the decisions and not the voters?

Andy

Separation from the EU is very, very complex. Some people seem to think its just voted for and done, but after 40+ years of integration theres a lot to unravel. Get it wrong, and the impact on peoples lives can be dramatic; yes, people may die (and I mean that quite literally, with medical supplies, aviation etc etc). Yes it was voted for, but it was a close vote (52% to 48%); so there are a significant minority who want to ensure that key elements of the relationship remain, and when you have a result thats close to 50:50, its… Read more »

TheDude

Interesting. One would have thought these details would have been sorted out and presented before a vote.

Ronnie

On the other hand and given the complexity of integration (Labour, finance, reciprocal health, immigration, free trade, standards, Pensions, human rights, etc) why work out all the details if the vote result was to stay. No, there was a defined two year negotiation time followed by a transition time. This again illustrates how complex the integration of the UK into the EU is now after some 40 years of the UK slowly becoming part of Europe.

Niklas Andersson

Thanks ANDY… well writes…

Bernie

“… amended under Boris Johnson is demonstrably worse.”
Andy, please don’t bring your bias to this website.

TonytTDK

Bernie,
Not bias.
Simple statement of fact.
The only way the PM was going to get the EU to change it’s stance was by offering concessions, which he did, mostly on the NI & the Irish border.
The fact that the right-wing press reported it as a success for the UK doesn’t change the facts about the concessions the current PM made, over the position the previous PM had stuck to.

Niklas Andersson

Brexit will push anyway the wings outside UK. Backup plan are already on going. I don’t beleive that European will allow this. LET THEM GO movement is on !
Just make sure that the Non European will not Enjoy this assets, and Netherlands, France and Germany will manufacture these Wings… so the productions will “fly away”…. like the car industries on behalf Cummins/Farage/Johnson.

TonytTDK

I think that most manufacturing businesses are still waiting for any hard & fast information about what Brexit is actually going to mean, when the dust finally settles.? Lot’s of promises were made by pro-Brexit UK politicians, but lot’s of warnings were made by EU leaders.! UK industry has been in a torpor for nearly 4 years & there’s still almost a full year to go before the interim talks conclude, so manufacturers still don’t really know what to plan for.? The UK’s car manufacturers are all likely to pull-out of the UK. The Japanese now have their own EU… Read more »

William

The story of Airbus is this. It was formed before European Monetary Union and Integration. Airbus worked then without EU, Merkel and Macron and it will work again. There was a Common Market, not an EU. Airbus was 37.5% British, 37.5% French and 25% German. Everyone understand that they were 15%-25% more expensive than the Americans because of small production runs. When Lufthansa and Air France, the main customers for the 300 seat A300 got cold feet and said the aircraft was to big the A300 was reduced to 250 passengers and known as an A250 for a while. This… Read more »

Zburătorul

Look, the Brexit trolls are here. Now, explain me, why airbus, who seems to be in some sort of commercial conflict with US (backers of Boeing) doesn’t need EU and their help and their regulations, especially the safety regulations?

TonytTDK

William, I’m now very confused.??? I read your accurate contribution where you listed the early history of Airbus & about how the UK Chose not to be a part of it, but British Business did & then you randomly conclude by telling us that the EU is destroying Europe.!!!. We all know how successful it’s been & how fortunate UK workers are that HSA chose to independently stay in the Airbus project. The only people unhappy with the EU are the people who’re just about to leave it…… & damn the consequences for British businesses & British jobs! All the… Read more »

Chris

Airbus sources parts and components from plenty of countries outside the EU. It’s almost irrelevant if the UK is in or outside Europe so long as the price and quality of parts manufactured are as contracted.

TonytTDK

It WILL be relevant if the EU is obliged to place substantial tariffs on the importation of goods from the UK, where ALL of Airbus’s wings are made.!
The cost to Airbus will be perhaps an additional 10% on the cost of these VERY EXPENSIVE components, which will significantly hit their bottom-line.

Luis

But why would the parts / components manufactured in the UK be significantly more expensive than those sourced from Canada, the US and other suppliers (except of course from those within the EU) ?

TonytTDK

Luis,
Not necessarily ‘significantly more’,
but ANY more, is MORE than were they to be sourced from within the EU
& any more, is something for which Airbus had not previously included in it’s budgeting & pricing-structure, which it obviously would have, knowing that the importation of US-made engies, for example, was ALWAYS going to attract import fees.!