Brexit ‘no deal’ would spell disaster: BALPA

The suggestion by the British premier that a Brexit ‘no deal’ was now an option has been met with alarm from the British pilot community.

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Airline pilots union BALPA’s general secretary Brian Strutton said: “The entire UK aviation sector which employs nearly a million people and carries more than 250 million passengers per annum would be devastated by a Brexit ‘no deal’.

“Unlike most other sectors there are no World Trade Organisation or any other rules to fall back on for aviation if there is no deal.

“UK airlines could find they have to stop flying – it’s that serious.  And this would impact passengers long before March 2019 because airlines couldn’t sell advance tickets and, frankly, would passengers risk buying them?

“It is utter madness for anyone to think that a Brexit ‘no deal’ would be anything but a total disaster for our world leading UK aviation sector and beyond. After all, without air cargo we will not be able to export or import freely. The entire industry has said that we have to see evidence of the post-Brexit plan for aviation now if we are to avert a catastrophic crisis of confidence.”

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union is leading to uncertainty around many of the agreements and regulations that underpin Single European Sky legislation.

During an evidence session with the Treasure Select Committee, the Chancellor said that “it is theoretically conceivable that in a no deal scenario there will be no air traffic moving between the UK and the European Union on 29 March 2019. But I don’t think anybody seriously believes that that is where we will get to.”

Responding to comments made by the UK chancellor who admitted that a no deal scenario could see air traffic grind to a halt, chief executive of the British airport operators organisation AOA Karen Dee said the industry will need a new legal framework the day after Brexit to ensure continuity of air services. “With airlines putting tickets on sale up to 18 months in advance of the date of travel, it is vital that a transition deal is agreed as soon as possible to give consumers and businesses the confidence their future travel will be uninterrupted,” she said.

“The AOA believes this is well understood on both sides of the negotiations. Airports stand ready to facilitate our future connectivity and look forward to working with the UK Government and our European partners to secure a deal that works for everyone.”

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