Airbus UK investment kills another Remainer threat that never came true
Without Brexit Britain, Airbus would have no wings
Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2022
Airbus’ expanding order book requires more wings - and more work at its Broughton site in North Wales
On Friday, French-controlled Airbus made a fresh commitment to being part of Brexit Britain’s economic fabric.
Following confirmation of orders for new Airbus aircraft from Qantas and other airlines, the multinational company has announced a £100m investment at its Broughton manufacturing plant in Flintshire, North Wales, creating 450-550 jobs.
Credit: Airbus Press Office 2022
“We are steadfast in our commitment to the UK,”
- Airbus UK’s Chairman, John Harrison
Remainer threats were – rightly it turns out – ignored by Leave voters
Along with the Nissan car plant in Sunderland the possibility that Airbus would abandon manufacturing in the UK was a regular threat raised by supporters of the UK remaining in the EU, during the 2016 referendum campaign. In part the fears were founded on some industry executives suggesting that foreign-owned companies would seek to move.
In spite of this threat the voters of Sunderland and Broughton both chose to vote Leave. Regaining sovereignty was more important than self-interest in the biggest democratic vote in our history.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary
How did the Airbus and Nissan constituencies vote?
- In 2016 the Alyn & Deeside constituency where the Broughton factory of Airbus is situated voted 58.1% to Leave with 41.9% voting to Remain
- The Washington and Sunderland West constituency where the Nissan car plant is located voted 61.9% to Leave with only 38.1% voting to Remain
© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2022 - click to enlarge
The sky’s the limit “despite Brexit”
- Airbus employs more than 6,000 workers at its Broughton facility and over 3,000 at Filton, Bristol
- Investment by Airbus in its Broughton plant over the last fifteen years has totalled more than £2bn
- The factory in Broughton makes wings, including those of the Airbus A380 – the world's largest passenger plane
- The wings are flown over to France where the aircraft are assembled
- The factory at Filton site makes wings for the Airbus A400M, a military transport plane
- The Airbus A350-1000 just ordered by Qantas is powered by the latest generation Trent XWB engines from Rolls-Royce – safeguarding the jobs of British workers
- An Airbus spokesperson confirmed that it plans to make 75 A320 planes a month in 2025, an increase of around 50%
“Operating from more than 25 sites across the UK, Airbus is the largest civil aerospace company in the country, the biggest civil aerospace exporter, Britain’s largest space company, the biggest supplier of large aircraft to the Royal Air Force and is responsible for around 50% of the UK’s civil helicopter fleet.”
- Details from an Oxford Economics survey
Previous warnings about Airbus leaving the UK
- In May 2015, Paul Khan, Airbus UK's chief executive, said Airbus would reconsider future investment in the UK that if the country voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum
- In evidence to a House of Commons committee in January 2017 Airbus warned any deal with the EU deal must allow the company to move its products and workers around Europe, including at short notice and without restrictions
- In June 2018 Airbus warned that if the UK left the EU without a transition deal: “This scenario would force Airbus to reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country.”
The renewed commitment of Airbus Industrie to Brexit Britain
“Airbus remains a vital part of the UK’s economic, societal and environmental landscape, even when accounting for the impact of COVID-19 on the wider aviation sector.
“We are steadfast in our commitment to the UK, and will continue to invest in our workforce, in the UK supply chain, research and development, and in the technologies that will play a vital role in limiting man-made carbon emissions, providing sustainable aviation that will benefit the entire planet.
“As our business looks towards recovery and growth following the pandemic, we continue to view Airbus’ strong and enduring relationship with the United Kingdom as a vital element of Airbus’ ongoing success and we are committed to continuing to deepen our ties over the years and decades to come.”
- John Harrison, Chairman, Airbus UK
UK Government welcomes decision by Airbus
Speaking about a recent study by Oxford Economics into the value of Airbus to the UK economy, Lee Rowley MP, Minister for Industry, said:
“The UK has a world leading aerospace sector, with Airbus playing a central role in this success. The ground-breaking tech that Airbus and its partners are developing will help secure the future of flight in the next generation aircraft of tomorrow.”
- Lee Rowley MP, Minister for Industry
Remainer sabre rattling never fooled the British public
Every month in the run up to the 2016 EU Referendum there would be a flurry of reports about one international business or another pulling out of the UK if we voted to leave, followed by denials.
Then, after we voted to leave, we went through the process again as the negotiations began on what shape the UK-EU relationship would be. Again, veiled threats would be followed by denials.
Then Covid arrived and the airline industry took a real hammering, resulting in Airbus having to introduce redundancies for commercial self-preservation. Now that the pandemic is ending, travel is opening up again and airlines are placing orders for aircraft. Airbus is set to recruit again and is investing in its Broughton facility in Flintshire, North Wales.
If there was a time for Airbus to leave the UK it was when Covid offered the chance of restructuring, but Airbus has not done that. Instead it has renewed its commitment to the UK post-Brexit. The point is there is a great deal of human capital in the British production facilities as well as financial capital. That range and depth of skill sets cannot just be conjured up on a political whim.
There will be new investments and closures in Brexit Britain – that’s the nature of business – but these will be determined by economic and logistical factors, rarely will it be anything political. That’s not to say company executives will desist from trying to encourage governments to give them advantageous support in loans or taxpayer support. That too is business, not politics – and that’s why the British public was never fooled by the threats.
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[ Sources: Airbus Industrie | Oxford Economics | Electoral Commission ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Mon 09 May 2022
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