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UK aerospace sector future in the balance as Brexit deadline approaches

© Suhyeon Choi

The final stretch of the Brexit negotiations have led European and British businesses to issue stark warnings if a deal isn’t reached.

In the latest intervention, the British aerospace sector’s trade body ADS warned on behalf of manufacturers that in the event there is no mutual recognition of parts, businesses would go elsewhere to get their planes made. 

The UK’s aerospace industry employs more than 110,000 people and is the world’s second largest manufacturer of aircraft and parts in the world. However, since the pandemic, there has been a drastic fall in orders for aircraft, with the worst month ever recorded in September.

ADS has warned ministers that without certification of aerospace parts and components, it could cause European businesses to choose alternative countries to partner with on aircraft production.

Manufacturers will also incur large costs if there were more layers of complexity over parts and other certification requirements.

With the UK set to leave the EU custom’s area in January, there is little time for a deal to be agreed, let alone ratified by European member states. With Spain and France providing strong opposition on fishing, and demanding access to British waters, a trade deal may not materialise.

For the UK’s aerospace industry, the next few months could be the most difficult in a century – putting emphasis on ministers to balance their approach and consider the implications for jobs and EU requirements of air safety as well as other issues at the production level.