Despite the uncertainties injected into the political and economic spheres of the European (and arguably global) defence, security and aerospace communities by the June decision of the United Kingdom to exit the European Union in the immediate future, leading lights in those communities are professing the opinion that it will be pretty much ‘business as usual.’
“It doesn’t really present us with much of a problem: we don’t see any substantial effect on our business,” said Ian Bell, Vice President and Managing Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa for the defence and security business of CAE. “We are pretty well balanced in Europe in particular and have strong presences in the UK, Germany and Hungary – so we are well positioned to be able to cope with any minor issues. There may be some issues to be dealt with in the civil aviation side of the business if there are significant changes in tariffs or applicable taxes – but it is currently much too early to tell,” he told MT in an interview at Farnborough.
Responding to questions during a pre-Farnborough briefing in Toulouse in late June, Claude Alber, Vice President and Managing Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Rockwell Collins, professed much the same opinion. “We analysed the potential outcome and did our contingency planning, as you would expect. Our analysis is there will be no long term impact on our business,” he said. Since his region contributes fully 20% of the corporation’s global revenues of U$ 5 billion, his view is obviously a critically important component of Rockwell Collins’ commercial strategy and business model generation.
Two swallows do not make summer; and there will certainly be alternative points of view from companies in somewhat less well entrenched or balanced positions vis-à-vis European development opportunities. But MT detects – admittedly at a very early stage in the process – a quiet but growing consensus that the political tremors that will echo through Europe in coming months do not hold hugely detrimental potential impact for our industries.