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