Airbus boss warns a no deal Brexit would be ‘absolutely catastrophic’

A senior Airbus executive warned a no deal Brexit would be ‘absolutely catastrophic’ today.

Katherine Bennett said the aerospace giant had already been forced to spend ‘tens of millions of euros’ preparing for the prospect of no deal. 

The money has been spent building vast stockpiles of parts at Airbus’ UK wing factories – and could have been better spent on apprenticeships, Ms Bennett said.

The firm’s senior vice president for the UK business said there no such thing as a ‘managed no deal’ as she urged politicians to strike an exit deal with the EU.

Airbus chief Katherine Bennett (pictured today on the Marr show) said the aerospace giant had already been forced to spend 'tens of millions of euros' preparing for the prospect of no deal

Airbus chief Katherine Bennett (pictured today on the Marr show) said the aerospace giant had already been forced to spend 'tens of millions of euros' preparing for the prospect of no deal

Airbus chief Katherine Bennett (pictured today on the Marr show) said the aerospace giant had already been forced to spend ‘tens of millions of euros’ preparing for the prospect of no deal

Airbus employs 14,000 people at 25 sites across the country - including Bristol, Portsmouth, Broughton (pictured) and north Wales

Airbus employs 14,000 people at 25 sites across the country - including Bristol, Portsmouth, Broughton (pictured) and north Wales

Airbus employs 14,000 people at 25 sites across the country – including Bristol, Portsmouth, Broughton (pictured) and north Wales

With just 40 days until exit, firms have been urged to step up their no deal contingency plans.

Airbus caused fury among Brexiteers by warning it could abandon the UK altogether if there is a no deal Brexit.  

Ms Bennett told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: ‘There is no such thing as a managed ‘no deal’, it’s absolutely catastrophic for us.

‘Some difficult decisions will have to made if there’s no-deal (…) we will have to look at future investments.’

She said they currently have a backlog of 9,000 aircraft to produce, providing plenty of work for UK employees for now, but added: ‘There will be decisions coming down the line in the next few years where my company will have to look seriously at investments.’ 

Airbus employs 14,000 people at 25 sites across the country – including Bristol, Portsmouth and north Wales.

However, the impact could go wider with an estimated 110,000 jobs at risk in companies supplying the European aircraft maker.

Last month aerospace giant, which generates £1.7billion in tax revenues, said it would ‘reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country’ if Britain left the single market and customs union without a transition agreement.

Theresa May has issued a desperate plea to Conservative MPs to unite and deliver on Brexit, urging her party to ‘move beyond what divides us’ and sacrifice ‘personal preferences’ for the national interest.

The Prime Minister’s rallying cry follows another tumultuous week in Westminster which saw tensions in the party reach boiling point, with one minister accusing Eurosceptic colleagues of ‘treachery’.

Ms Bennett told Marr there no such thing as a 'managed no deal' as she urged politicians to strike an exit deal with the EU.

Ms Bennett told Marr there no such thing as a 'managed no deal' as she urged politicians to strike an exit deal with the EU.

Ms Bennett told Marr there no such thing as a ‘managed no deal’ as she urged politicians to strike an exit deal with the EU.

Mrs May, in a letter to all 317 Conservative MPs comes after her Brexit plans suffered a humiliating Commons defeat on Valentine’s Day.  

The Premier said the result was ‘disappointing’ but vowed that the Government would continue its work to secure changes to the Irish border backstop.

She announced that she will return to Brussels for further talks with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker next week, and revealed plans to speak to the leaders of every EU member state over the coming days.

Despite the unity plea, it emerged today that a senior figure in the Brexiteer European Research Group branded the talks a ‘waste of time’ in a private Tory WhatsApp group.  

Steve Baker told Tory MPs that Mrs May and Brussels are ‘working together to run down the clock’ to try and pass the deal in late March.    

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