Aerospace giants demand quick post-Brexit deal with EU

Key players in Britain’s aerospace industry have called on the Government to quickly agree a post-Brexit transition deal.

In written evidence to the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee's Brexit inquiry, Boeing, which employs 2,200 people in the UK and supports a further 16,500 jobs, demanded "clarity" by April "at the latest" in regards an agreement.

“The regulated nature of the aerospace industry means that Brexit contingency plans typically have a 12-month lead time associated with them," the company said.

"Boeing has observed some airlines already executing contingency options, the company said, adding it "would welcome clarity from the UK and the (European) Commission on the future aerospace business environment in the first quarter of next year at the latest; the company feels that this is in the best interests of UK and EU businesses and consumers."

Airbus, which accounts for more than 15,000 UK jobs, also called for a "lengthy transition period,” adding it needed time to invest in customs arrangements, such as electronic border management systems, because it needs to move staff and equipment around the EU.

"To ensure Airbus is not put at a competitive disadvantage by a trading and regulatory cliff edge, it is vital that the UK and EU agree on the terms of a transitional arrangement as soon as possible," the company's said.

Airbus also warned that UK jobs would likely be at risk if British workers need to apply for new visas after Brexit, stressing UK employees must be able to move across borders at short notice to fix production line issues.

The company also said failure to reach a deal would rob British companies of EU research funding programmes.

"It is vital in the negotiations that the UK secures continued access to these programmes to avoid highly skilled UK jobs and research moving to EU member states," Airbus said.

"Not reaching a deal with the EU would have significant consequences for Airbus and its supply chain. Airbus believes that no deal would potentially reduce the UK's influence on regulatory matters, damage the UK's work advancing new technology and, in turn, creating high value jobs.

"Therefore, Airbus relies on a fully-integrated relationship which secures the access to, skills, R&D and influence that underpins its global competitiveness and rising productivity."