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Published on Thursday, October 25, 2018

IATA warns of post-Brexit chaos for air passengers



International airline body IATA has called for urgent action by the UK and the European Union to put in place contingency plans for the continuation of air services in the event of a 'no-deal Brexit'.

It also said the two sides need to move much faster to bring certainty to three critical air transport issues:

  • The uninterrupted continuation of air connectivity
  • The framework for regulating safety and security, and
  • The policies and processes needed for efficient border management


"These are the most critical areas because there are no fallback agreements such as the WTO framework available in a 'no-deal' Brexit scenario," said IATA CEO and director general Alexandre de Juniac.

"Without any contingency planning being made transparent to the industry, the risks of not addressing these issues could mean chaos for travelers and interrupted supply chains With less than six months to go, we have little more certainty than we did in June 2016."

The call for urgent attention to air transport issues in Brexit follows the release of an IATA-commissioned study of the effects of the UK leaving the EU on airlines flying to and from the UK.

Even in the best-case scenario, where a Brexit transition phase is agreed for the period after March 2019, a high degree of uncertainty and risk to air services remains, said IATA.

A no-deal or 'hard' Brexit outcome, without an agreement for a transition period, is likely to lead to significant disruption to air services. Moreover, the lack of transparency concerning any contingency planning for this scenario has left airlines completely in the dark as to what measures to take, it added.

"The EU and UK have a responsibility to millions of their citizens who depend on reliable air transportation. The goal should be a comprehensive air services agreement that does not step backwards from the connectivity existing today.

"But with the possibility of a 'no deal' Brexit still on the table this late in the game, it is now essential that the EU and UK civil aviation authorities plan for contingency arrangements to maintain a minimum level of connectivity, which is vital for people and for business. This has to be one of the most important Brexit considerations. A backstop contingency plan to keep planes flying after March must be published, and quickly," said de Juniac.

IATA also called for the UK to remain in the European Aviation Safety Agency, at least as a 'third country member', and it repeated the UK Civil Aviation Authority's call for the two to be able to initiate detailed technical discussions on their future relationship.

"Mutual recognition of professional licences, standards for materials and parts, and other safety elements, should be put in place to come into effect immediately after March," said IATA.

"Aviation security, for both passengers and cargo, will be highly impacted in case of a no deal scenario. When it comes to recognition of security measures, all parties should work towards a deal where the status quo, is maintained."

"It is ridiculous that formal discussions on the future relationship between EASA and the UK CAA have been forbidden. This is aviation safety we are talking about - the number one priority for everyone connected with air transport and the top responsibility for governments. We understand the complexity of the political issues at stake. But safety and security should be non-negotiable," said de Juniac.

IATA is also proposing that the UK creates a 'third lane' at passport control to process EU passengers more quickly than those from the rest of the world if there is a no-deal Brexit.

"Interference with the movement of people and goods will have a major and immediate knock-on impact to economic activity in both the UK and the EU. Solutions to minimize disruption are of paramount importance. We must have clarity on future border and customs arrangements now, if we are to plan for an orderly post-Brexit situation," added de Juniac.

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  • You might want to live in the Stone Age ...

    Sure, airlines operated before the UK joined the EU.Just one small thing, though. In 1973, there were just over 2 million UK international air pax. (All UK airports) In 2017 there were just over 240 million! (CAA figures) Are you certain that the methods of the past are still applicable? Good luck if you are!

    By Peter Lewis, Friday, November 2, 2018

  • I think it more likely.......

    .......that the self-obsessed "leaders" of the EU are doing their best to stop us leaving because of the potential for the whole European EXPERIMENT to fall apart. For those who don't "do" history, please note the following historic attempts at empire: Ottoman Roman British 3rd Reich USSR None now in existence.

    By Peter Mannell, Thursday, October 25, 2018

  • IATA founded 19 April 1945...

    The EU founded 1 November 1993. How ever did we manage to fly anywhere in the 40-odd years between those two dates? Or is it just possible that the EU has absolutely nothing to do with civil aviation's rules, regulations and agreements?

    By Richard English, Thursday, October 25, 2018

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