BERLIN (Reuters) – Possible US tariffs against Airbus aircraft and European parts are unlikely to have a major impact on the European planemaker’s 2019 results, but disruption cannot be ruled out, its chief executive said.
In an interview with Politico, released by German stablemate Die Welt on Monday, CEO Guillaume Faury the main risk was that airlines would refuse to buy Airbus jets because of the risk that repeat purchases would be rendered uneconomic by future tariffs.
The World Trade Organization has at least partially approved a US request to impose tariffs on European Union aircraft and other goods as part of a 15-year trade dispute in which the EU is also preparing similar action against the US.
Analysts say airlines tend to renew their fleets only every 15 years or so, meaning long-term risks must factored in whenever they are making purchase decisions.
“For now it is unlikely that there will be significant impact on 2019. But we can’t fully rule out disruptions,” Faury was quoted as saying.
Turning to the impact of Britain’s departure from the European Union, Faury said that while it would be impossible to move ongoing production of aircraft wings from Britain, Brexit could have an impact on future investment decisions.
Airbus has repeatedly warned that future investments in the UK, where it employs 14,000 workers, could be at risk in the event of a disorderly Brexit. Some Brexit supporters have accused the France-based plane giant of exaggerating such risks.