Airbus: Brexit uncertainty threatens local jobs

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Eastleigh’s MP Mims Davies with former Chancellor George Osborne chat to Hamble apprentices on a 2015 visit

The future of hundreds high tech manufacturing jobs in Hampshire could depend on Brexit the European aerospace company Airbus has warned.

According to a report in todays Times newspaper, Airbus is preparing to stop building aircraft wings at its British plants –  and move production abroad to China or mainland Europe – due to concerns that EU safety certifications will not apply from March next year and uncertainty over UK/EU customs negotiations.

“In the absence of any clarity, we have to assume the worst-case scenario,” Tom Williams, the chief operating officer of Airbus, told The Times.

The company directly employs 14,000 people and supports a further 110,000 jobs in its UK supply chain including 850 jobs at GE Aviation Hamble.

In 2013 the Hamble plant received a £32 million investment from Airbus that it used to construct a 9,000 sq m state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. It was believed at the time this would secure the future of the plant, and its hundreds of highly skilled and well paid jobs for years to come but now workers at Hampshire’s Airbus facility in Portsmouth and at suppliers like GE Aviation are faced with uncertainty following the Airbus COO’s remarks.

The Times reports that Airbus warned Prime Minister Theresa May that it was reconsidering its investment in the UK three weeks ago.

Eastleigh News has invited GE Aviation to comment on the Times story.