Airports join forces to call for an urgent post-Brexit deal on all UK-EU flights
Five of the UK’s major airports have joined forces in a bid to encourage the Government to urgently strike a post Brexit deal on all flights between the UK and EU.
This follows fears over the future of flights, with Airports concerned that uncertainty alone could be enough to see bookings drop by up to 40%.
A report recently submitted to ministers by the owners of London City, Manchester, Heathrow, and Stansted Airports voiced fears that, even if flights are not interrupted in March 2019 when Britain eventually leaves the EU, passenger numbers are still likely to be hit hard if assurances are not made as a matter of urgency.
Written by WPI Economics on the behalf of the airports, the eye-opening report also revealed that almost half of all passengers were likely to change or cancel their travel arrangements if they were in any doubt that the move could affect their flight.
These concerns come at a time when Ryanair, one of the UK’s major budget airlines, has already stated that flights between Britain and the EU could face an uncertain future if a deal is not made.
The report warns: “Although an 11th-hour deal may prevent planes from being grounded, damage to the aviation industry and the wider economy would have already been done.
“The closer we get to the article 50 deadline for the completion of the withdrawal negotiations (end of March 2019), without the security of guaranteed future access to the single aviation market, the greater the negative economic consequences will be.”
In addition to this, the report urges the Government to make a decision as soon as possible, so that the necessary steps can be taken to strike a deal.
The report continues: “Not doing so could mean that, hundreds of thousands of passengers and aircraft movements are affected. This will be bad for the aviation industry and bad for the economy, the UK’s overseas trading relationships and domestic economic activity supported by air travel will suffer.”
The five UK airports involved in the construction of the report have urged the Government to consider the important role aviation plays in today’s uncertain economy when making their decision and evaluating the points made in the report.
A spokesperson for MAG, which owns Manchester and Stansted airports, stated: “Other sectors are able to plan on the basis of WTO fall back arrangements, but the aviation industry is at a distinct disadvantage because in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it doesn’t have the same sort of safety net.
“Tickets will soon go on sale for flights in a post-Brexit world and both airlines and passengers need assurance from the EU and UK government to enable them to plan for the future.”