Published on Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Alarm at EU warning to UK airlines post-Brexit

The EU Commission has confirmed fears that UK airlines will lose their automatic right to fly to the European Union post-Brexit.

It said for a carrier to obtain and keep an EU operating licence and benefit from intra-EU air traffic lights it must have its principle place of business within the EU and be majority owned and effectively controlled by EU member states and/or EU nationals.

The British Airline Pilots' Association said the announcement by the EU Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport was 'cause for great concern'.

The notice said: "As of the withdrawal date, the operating licences granted to airlines by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority will no longer be valid EU operating licences.

"In order to continue benefitting from the freedoms of establishment and to provide air services within the EU internal market as of the withdrawal date, air carriers are advised to consider any measure required to ensure that the conditions for holding an EU operating licence are complied with in all circumstances."

The notice made it clear that UK airlines will no longer have the right to fly between the UK and Europe post-Brexit. "Air carriers of the United Kingdom will no longer enjoy traffic rights under any air transport agreement to which the Union is a party, be it to or from the territory of the United Kingdom, be it to or from the territory of any of the EU Member States.

"Air carriers of the United Kingdom will no longer have access to designation/traffic rights so far available under the bilateral air transport agreements between EU Member States and a third country on account of the principle of EU designation accepted by the third country concerned."

It also warned that non-EU airlines will also lose their right to operate services to and from the UK that were covered by an EU air transport agreement.

BALPA general secretary, Brian Strutton, said: "Here it is in black and white from the EU Commission - UK flights to the EU will be grounded in March 2019 should no agreement be reached.

"We need the UK Government to sort air traffic rights now. Once again, no deal is not an option."

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