Guillaume Faury was quoted by news website Euractiv as saying the UK “is part of Airbus” as he appeared to hint he wants the company to remain in the UK regardless of how negotiations pan out. His reported view is in direct contrast to his predecessor Tom Enders, who previously described the handling of Brexit by Theresa May and the Government as a “disgrace” and has been vocal about his opposition to Britain leaving the European Union. Mr Faury, who took over from Mr Enders last month, is reported to have called the UK a “very important pillar” for Airbus. He is believed to have made the remarks during a Innovation Days event in Toulouse on 21 May, 2019.
Mr Faury is quoted as saying: “UK is part of Airbus and Airbus is part of the UK and we would like to preserve that.”
Airbus has previously threatened to leave the UK should the country leave the EU without a deal with Mr Enders previously warning of “very harmful decisions” that would need to be made.
Speaking in a video message earlier this year, Mr Enders said: “If there is a no deal Brexit, we at Airbus will have to make potentially very harmful decisions for the UK.”
He added: “Please don’t listen to the Brexiteers’ madness, which asserts that because we have huge plants here we will not move and we will always be here. They are wrong.”
Airbus took to Twitter shortly after the comment attributed to Mr Faury were reported and denied their position on Brexit has changed.
The company tweeted: “We’re aware that an online article has suggested Airbus’ stance on Brexit may have changed. It hasn’t.
“We are still seeking clarity, while preparing for a no deal Brexit.”
Airbus did not specifically identify the article or publication.
The UK is set to leave the EU on October 31, 2019, but negotiations have been thrown further into doubt after Prime Minister Mrs May announced she was standing down as leader of the Conservative Party.
Her decision has paved the way for a leadership contest, with Mrs May due to leave her position next week on 7 June, 2019.
Airbus has a UK plant in Broughton where it produces wings for commercial aircrafts.
Mr Enders had previously warned there are “plenty of countries” where his company could manufacture its wings.
Airbus is the latest in a list of companies to threaten the UK with leaving should the country depart the EU without a deal.
Dyson announced plans to shift his company HQ from Wiltshire to Singapore, while Sony confirmed it was moving its European HQ from London to Amsterdam.