Airbus CEO Tom Enders has accused the British government of having “no clue, or no consensus” of how to achieve Brexit—when the UK leaves the European Union (EU)—without severe harm.

In his most harshly worded criticism of Brexit yet, Enders, speaking in London July 6, he said Brexit “in whatever form” would be damaging to the aerospace industry, and “damaging for the UK whatever the outcome maybe.”

His statement emerges as the British cabinet was meeting behind closed doors at the Prime Minister’s country residence, Chequers, to try find some agreement on the British approach to Brexit.

Since the separation negotiations between the EU and the UK formally began last year, the British government has failed to come to agreement on customs and border arrangements, particularly around Northern Ireland, the only part of mainland UK that shares a land border with a EU country.

In late June, Airbus published its Brexit risk assessment and warned it may have to consider its footprint, investments and dependency on the UK particularly in the event of the UK crashing out of the EU next March.

Some British MPs have accused Airbus of bluffing, but Airbus commercial aircraft business president Guillaume Faury said there was only a reason to bluff for an advantage.

He added that to mitigate against possible holdups at the borders, the company would require a three-month buffer in components, but generating up to a third more part in nine months, leaning on suppliers when they are already at production capacity rates would be challenging to achieve.

“We need clarity to prepare ourselves he said,” Faury added.

Enders said the UK needed to remain within the European customs union and stay involved with the regulatory bodies such as EASA, as a “minimum” to “minimize the damage.”

Without that, he warned that the certification of thousands of aircraft parts in the supply chain was at risk and could led to a “standstill in production.

Enders said the company is taking mitigations against the impact of Brexit, but refused to say what those would be.

The company’s comments emerged one day after the head of the UK aerospace trade association ADS Paul Everitt warned that aircraft might not fly because of a lack of regulatory arrangements between the EU and the UK.

“It’s not alarmist; it’s not scaremongering. It is an extreme situation, and everyone says that’s not going to happen. But until the regulatory authorities sit and discuss the detail, it’s a huge risk, Everitt said.

Tony Osborne tony.osborne@aviationweek.com