Kirsty Williams says warnings provided by Airbus UK show the potentially devastating impact that leaving the EU Single Market and Customs Union could have on the Welsh economy.

The Brecon and Radnorshire AM was reacting to a statement issued by the aerospace engineering giant last week saying it could be about to quit the UK if it exits the European Union single market and customs union without a transition deal.

Airbus currently employ 14,000 employees within the UK at 25 sites, many of those directly employed at the firm's huge wing-making base in Broughton, North Wales, while also supporting 110,000 jobs in the UK supply chain through over 4,000 suppliers.

Kirsty Williams said: "The negative impact of the UK leaving the EU Single Market or Customs Union is potentially unprecedented.

"Airbus are aware of the increased challenges facing them, and the possibility of production moving elsewhere places thousands of jobs in Wales at risk".

The statement by Airbus warned that the potential disruption caused by Brexit to the company’s ‘just-in-time’ production could push the company to look elsewhere for aircraft parts, mainly within the EU. It warns that, ‘In the absence of a Brexit agreement, UK aerospace companies will not be covered anymore under existing regulatory approvals including EASA approvals’, and mentions that the company, ‘is getting increasingly concerned by the lack of progress on the Brexit process’ in absence of a longer Transition Phase. They state that ‘the disruptions in a no deal Brexit situation are likely to add up to several weeks; potentially translating into a multi-billion impact on Airbus’.

However former Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies, who unexpectedly resigned as leader this week, had accused the company of "hyperbole" over the comments.

He said: "Clearly Airbus is an important company to the United Kingdom and to Wales - but it's worth remembering that it's the dynamic highly skilled UK workforce that has made Airbus the success it has become.

"Talking so casually about de-camping to China does those workers a disservice, and you'd think that Airbus was the first company to entertain slashing costs and by extension standards - and it doesn't usually end well."

UK business secretary Greg Clark has told MPs the Government was taking the concerns expressed by Airbus seriously.

"This is a sector that's one of our proudest strengths," Mr Clark told the house of commons last week.

"I do take seriously the representations that all businesses make".