Volkswagen Group’s Bentley reportedly has five cargo planes on stand by to fly in components if there is disruption at the UK border in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Companies from across the economy have expressed concern that imports could be disrupted for weeks if the UK and EU cannot agree a deal before 1 January, when the Brexit transition period ends, The Guardian said.

Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark reportedly said the automaker had five 747 cargo planes on standby under a timeshare arrangement to avoid ports, which could quickly become congested if there is a cliff edge change in trading rules.

Hallmark told an industry conference organised by the Financial Times Bentley had spent millions on preparations for Brexit.

“We’re ready to jump off a cliff with a parachute that hasn’t been tested,” he said. “We’d rather not be jumping off the cliff with a parachute at all.”

The Guardian noted Jaguar Land Rover has said in February it had flown in some vital key fobs from China in suitcases when the start of the coronavirus pandemic caused shortages.

All traffic moving across the English Channel will face new paperwork whether a deal is agreed or not.

The report said Bentley, with its factory in Crewe, Cheshire, had also looked at routing imports through two other ports aside from Dover, including Immingham in Lincolnshire.

Stockpiling parts in extra, rented warehouses is another way that Bentley and other car companies are trying to avoid stopping production. Bentley now has the parts to cover 14 working days of production without new supplies, up from the two days of stock it usually holds.

Bentley only makes about 11,000 cars per year, meaning that stockpiling and flying in parts – while expensive – should protect it from the worst of any disruption, the report said.

Hallmark said disruption at ports would be more damaging to Bentley than 10% tariffs, which would kick in on 1 January if there is no deal and trade defaults to World Trade Organisation terms, The Guardian added.

He said the company would try to find the “least worst balance” between raising its prices and absorbing some of the costs itself. Bentley cars start at GBP130,000 and special models can cost more than GBP1m, meaning it can absorb some extra costs in its thick margins.