Nigel Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), took to Twitter on Friday to lambast Airbus for seemingly siding with the European Union (EU) to place Britain under further pressure to secure a transition deal and post-Brexit trade deal with the bloc.
He said it was “hardly surprising” that they made the threat after receiving £16 billion (around $21 billion at the current GBP/USD exchange rate) in funding from the EU.
Hardly surprising Airbus are threatening us today when they've taken billions in EU funding. https://t.co/aEs0yJsl9u— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) June 22, 2018
In May, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that the EU did not comply with its request to stop providing Airbus with large subsidies, which were reportedly causing US rival Boeing to lose out on lucrative contracts and market share.
Airbus’ warning to the UK government was made in its Brexit risk assessment on Thursday, which said “This scenario [no-deal Brexit] would force Airbus to reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country.
They also said that their warning is not intended to cause panic or chaos, but is the “dawning reality,” and insisted that any Brexit scenario would have negative consequences for them.
Other Brits have also taken to Twitter to express their thoughts on Airbus' potential exit from the UK, with many worried by the loss of such a key economic agent.
Airbus revenue covers over 20% of our EU membership. One company.— Julie Owen Moylan (@JulieOwenMoylan) June 22, 2018
Brexit is absolutely moronic.
Airbus is the single most important company in Wales. It cannot be allowed to quit Britain because of Brexit and the incompetence, intransigence and divisions of this Tory Government. pic.twitter.com/Mg1Nuq62e3— Owen Smith (@OwenSmith_MP) June 22, 2018
Do we have to write it on the side of an Airbus? pic.twitter.com/eXhzXcojnr— christhebarker (@christhebarker) June 22, 2018
Less than 24 hours after they issued the threat, a spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that they had discussed the situation with Airbus and will continue to review the possible adverse effects of Brexit on the aviation industry.
The aerospace giant employs around 14,000 at over two-dozen sites throughout Britain, with another 110,000 jobs also relying on Airbus in some form in the supply chain.