Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Airports Want Quick Euro Deal Post Brexit

The owners for five of the busiest airports in the UK have joined forces to press the government to 'urgently' agree a post-Brexit deal on flights between the UK and the EU. They warn that the current uncertainty alone would be enough to see bookings drop by up to 41%.

A special report has been submitted to ministers by the owners of Manchester, Stansted, Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports which concludes that even if flights are not interrupted in March 2019 passenger numbers are likely to be hit hard without assurances.

WPI Economics created the report for the airports said that almost half of passengers booking in the year ahead were likely to alter their travel plans if there was any doubt over the status of flights. European based airlines have the freedom to fly from anywhere to anywhere in the EU, yet fears are this freedom of the air will end for UK based airlines as soon as Britain exits the EU.

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.”

Adding “The closer we get to the article 50 deadline for the completion of 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.”

WPI Economics believe the UK would see 8 million fewer passengers in 2019 in the worst case scenario, the middle forecast claims there would be 2.3 million less passengers. They predict passenger numbers will start to fall months before the exit date. 

They urge the government to agree a deal as soon as possible, preferably before spring of 2018. “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.”

A spokesperson for the Manchester Airports Group, which owns Manchester and Stansted airports, said: “Other sectors are able to plan on the basis of World Trade Organisation fallback 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.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport advised “Our aviation industry is the largest in Europe, and both we and the EU benefit from the connectivity it provides. That’s why we are pursuing liberal access to European aviation markets – including all the benefits that brings for consumers.”

Many other politicians believe this is just another episode in project fear by hardcore 'remaners' and mainly European owned companies with figures that lack an 'real-world' credibility.   

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