Boeing Co. reckons Brexit will slow growth in both the U.K. and European Union economies, though not enough to upset demand for its planes, according to marketing vice president Randy Tinseth.
“We expect from a U.K. perspective and an EU perspective, there will be an economic impact, you can’t get away from that, the U.K. economy more in terms of potential growth,” Tinseth said in an interview in Brussels, adding that aircraft sales “on a global scale” will likely be unaffected.
Boeing’s rival Airbus has warned of the fallout from a no-deal Brexit that could bring hard borders and a lapse in regulatory approvals. The European company is preparing to stockpile parts to maintain production rates in case of customs delays, as is London-based jet-engine specialist Rolls-Royce Holdings, a major supplier to both planemakers.
While encouraged by Prime Minister Theresa May’s outline Brexit accord and a U.K.-EU arrangement to maintain flights after March 29 come what may, Boeing is still making contingency plans to prepare suppliers and coordinate with regulators on the possible fallout in areas such as parts approval, said Brian Moran, its vice president for government relations in Europe.
For Boeing’s airline customers, bilateral treaties and air-services agreements could also be impacted, said Tinseth, though he reiterated a June forecast for European demand for 8,490 jetliners worth $1.2 trillion over the next 20 years.
Boeing Europe President Michael Arthur last week said the company is looking at two or three options for expansion in the U.K. after opening its first European factory in Sheffield, England, last month. Britain is also a lucrative services market because of a policy of outsourcing warplane maintenance.