ABTA has released a statement in light of European Parliament’s vote yesterday, in support of UK airlines still being able to operate routes to and from the UK to EU countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit. They will also be able to make stops in EU countries and fly over EU airspace.
The EU’s arrangements around flights are subject to the UK reciprocating these arrangements. Last week the UK Government confirmed it would reciprocate the arrangements around flights. The European Council is expected to approve the legislation shortly.
ABTA has said that, while having plans in place in preparation for a no-deal is essential, securing a deal is the preferred outcome.
“EU countries really value the contribution that UK tourists make to their countries”
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said: “Agreeing a deal between the UK and the EU should be the priority for politicians on both sides, however it is important that there are plans in place should a no-deal occur.
“This vote builds on the previous reassurances holidaymakers and business travellers have had from both the EU and UK Government that, deal or no-deal, flights will continue, meaning people can book with confidence.
“As many as 61% of UK citizens plan to take a trip to Europe this year. EU countries really value the contribution that UK tourists make to their countries – generating £37bn for their economies and supporting 870,000 jobs. We know from our discussions with destinations that they are keen to ensure travelling between the UK and the EU is as easy as possible after Brexit.
“Reaching a deal is very much the preferred outcome and we encourage politicians to explore all options to avoid a no-deal. If the UK and the EU agree a deal, there will then be a transition period which means everything will stay the same until the end of 2020.
“Maintaining good aviation links is among the core priorities ABTA has been lobbying for throughout the Brexit negotiations.
“More recently we have worked very closely with ABTA Members and our contacts in destinations and Brussels to argue against limiting flight routes to Summer 2018 levels and we’re pleased to see this has been taken on board.”
The original proposals from the European Commission on air travel in a no-deal Brexit included limiting flights to Summer 2018 levels. The European Commission’s draft regulations, published a few weeks ago, confirmed that this cap has now been removed from the plans, which was also confirmed with Wednesday’s vote.
The no-deal flight arrangements will be in place until the end of March 2020 which would give the UK Government and the EU time to negotiate and agree a long-term approach to aviation.
Other modes of transport
In terms of other modes of transport, cruise and ferry sailings are subject to international maritime law so do not require any specific arrangements with the EU for continuation of services after Brexit. It is also expected that trains and coach travel will continue to operate in a no-deal Brexit. Customers are advised to check with their travel company ahead of their journey to see if there is any additional information they need to be aware of, in the event of a no-deal.
ABTA and its Members are offering advice to holidaymakers and business travellers heading to the UK after Brexit – with our latest information available at abta.com/brexit.