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Airbus 'may reconsider' investment if UK leaves the EU

President of Airbus Group UK has warned about the possible consequences of leaving the EU. Credit: Bernard Patrick / ABACA/Press Association Images

European aerospace giant Airbus has warned of job losses and "huge" economic risks if Britain votes to leave the European Union in a referendum to be held by 2017.

A decision to quit the EU would raise doubts about Airbus's long-term future investments in the country, according to President of Airbus Group UK, Paul Kahn. Airbus employs 16,000 people in the UK.

He said: "If after an exit from the European Union, economic conditions in Britain were less favourable for business than in other parts of Europe, or beyond; would Airbus reconsider future investment in the United Kingdom? Yes, absolutely".

Mr Kahn added that the long-term economic risks of a potential British exit were "huge".

He said the long lead times needed to build up the skills to support advanced manufacturing meant that jobs would be slow to leave. But they could be "even slower to return" should companies choose to send their future investment elsewhere.

I don't believe that there is anyone who has run a global business who can truly, and clearly, argue that there will be greater value and economic benefit outside of the EU, as opposed to in it.

– Paul Kahn, president of Airbus Group UK

'No surprise' both pilots fell asleep at same time

UK pilots' organisation Balpa said last month's incident "comes as no surprise", adding that it had "repeatedly warned the CAA of the risk of both pilots falling asleep, including in a letter to each member of the CAA board last year".

Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said: "British pilots want to make every flight a safe flight and tiredness is the biggest challenge they face.

"As the regulator responsible for UK flight safety, the CAA has been far too complacent about the levels of tiredness among British pilots and failing to acknowledge the scale of the under-reported problem.

"In fact, the CAA and Government are backing EU cuts to UK flight safety that will increase tiredness among pilots and the risk of dangerous incidents."

The CAA said today: "We understand that Balpa are not happy with the proposals but we think overall it is a good package and not much different to what we have now."

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