Airbus said on Friday that it may be forced to move its operations out of the UK, as fears of a ‘hard Brexit’ take their toll.

The group said they were not making a statement as part of “project fear”, but instead a “dawning reality”.

Its current plans to build aircraft wings in British factories may be ditched over concerns that EU regulations will no longer apply from March 2019. Airbus hinted that it may opt to transfer production to North America, China or another European country.

Airbus is currently a major employer in the UK, with 14,000 people working at 25 different sites across the country. When asked about the potential impact of a no-deal with the EU, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Tom Williams, chief operating officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft, said today:

“We are seriously considering whether we should continue that development or we should find alternate solutions.”

In the group’s Brexit risk assessment, it said a no-deal – leaving the single market and customs union without a deal – would “lead to severe disruption and interruption of UK production”.

“This scenario would force Airbus to reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country,” it added.

Airbus (EPA:AIR) shares are currently trading up 0.99 percent at 99.57 (0832GMT).

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Miranda is the online editor of UK Investor Magazine. Her interests include private equity, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, gender equality and coffee.