Airline and airport bosses sound alarm on impact of Brexit to MEPs
Top airline and airport executives warned of the negative consequences of Brexit on aviation and tourism in a transport committee hearing on Tuesday.
Airlines will need to make business decisions about where to fly well before the March 2019 deadline, the CEOs warned. They highlighted the benefits that the single market has brought in terms of travel opportunities and jobs and economic growth and the large flows of tourists between the UK and the other 27 EU countries. Passengers will lose out and the EU27 tourism industry stands to lose some €21 billion in business from the UK following Brexit, especially in Malta, Cyprus and Portugal, they warned.
They stressed the need for certainty and said aviation needed to be dealt with as a priority in the negotiations on a future relationship, especially as there is no “fall back” option, which other sectors may have in the form of WTO rules. No deal could mean no flights between UK and EU-27 immediately after Brexit, warned Michael O’Leary of Ryanair.
MEPs asked the CEOs if they thought the UK should continue to follow the EU rules in the field of aviation following Brexit and if there are current agreements with third countries that could serve as a blueprint for a future relationship. They asked if they are preparing contingency plans in case the negotiators do not reach a deal by the March 2019 deadline.