UK flights “protected in no deal Brexit scenario”

  • UK government sets out detailed plans confirming protection for flights in a no deal scenario

  • EU no deal aviation regulation also about to be finalised to ensure UK airlines can continue to operate to Europe

  • Contingency measures provide industry and holidaymakers with the certainty they need and ensure flights will continue after 29 March 2019


The UK government has today confirmed details of measures to ensure that flights will continue if the UK leaves the European Union (EU) in a no deal Brexit.

This announcement comes as the EU is also about to finalise its no deal aviation regulation that will protect UK airlines flying into Europe.

“Both these proposals will ensure continued aviation connectivity in any scenario,” said the UK Department for Transport (DfT) in a statement.

The DfT’s aviation minister, Baroness Sugg, said: “Measures put forward by the UK and the EU will ensure that flights can continue in any scenario; deal or no deal.

“This is good news, not only for the industry but most importantly it reaffirms the fact that passengers can book flights with confidence, as normal.

“We expect these contingency measures will never be needed and our efforts remain focused on securing a deal from the EU.”

The government has set out how it will reciprocate to EU airlines the rights granted to UK airlines by the regulation.

In a section on all cargo services beyond the UK, the guidelines state: “Under the EU draft Regulation, for up to 5 months after exit day, UK airlines would be entitled to operate all-cargo services from the UK, to a point in the EU, and onwards to a third country.

“The EU’s draft regulation would cap the number of such services that UK airlines could operate at 2018 levels.”

It continues: “In line with the principle of reciprocity, the UK intends to allow EU airlines to operate all-cargo air services from any pair of points of which one is situated in the UK and the other is situated in a third country, as part of a service with origin or destination in the EU.

“The total seasonal capacity to be provided by EU27 air airlines for those services would be limited to the total number of frequencies operated by member state airlines in the IATA summer 2018 season on a pro-rata basis. Authorisations would be granted for up to 5 months.”

Under aircraft leasing, the guidelines state: “The EU draft Regulation would allow UK airlines to operate using their own aircraft, aircraft leased without crew from any lessor, or aircraft using crew of another UK operator on a wet-lease basis.

“However, the draft regulation goes on to stipulate that a UK airline would only be able to operate using an aircraft leased with crew from an airline of a state other than the UK, if the lease can be justified on the grounds of exceptional needs, seasonal capacity needs or operational difficulties.”

In terms of passenger volumes, the department said that around 164 m passengers travel between the UK and the EU each year so these measures will ensure that “passengers can continue to take business and leisure flights in a no deal scenario”.

It continued: “This announcement gives industry certainty and the public the assurance needed to book and fly with absolute confidence.

“These proposals are a no deal contingency measure and will only come into force if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The UK remains committed to securing a deal but continues to prepare for all scenarios.”


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