The United Kingdom and European Union have yet to agree a deal before the March withdrawal deadline.

Brexit

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO has said the EU and UK “must prioritize a solution” for airlines’ growth as the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit edges closer.

Most passenger flights will continue despite the failure of British MPs to pass the withdrawal agreement agreed by Prime Minister Theresa May, but an additional five million seats are at risk if ‘no deal’ occurs.

“In the small window remaining before Brexit it is imperative that the EU and UK prioritize finding a solution that brings certainty to airlines planning growth to meet demand and to travelers planning business trips and family holidays,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

With two months left until Britain leaves the EU, airlines still do not know exactly what kind of Brexit they should be planning for

Proposed guidance from the EU Commission in the event of ‘no deal’ calls for the current level of flights between the UK and the EU to be maintained, but does not allow for an increase in flight numbers in 2019 compared to 2018. 

That means that an extra five million seats (IATA estimate) scheduled for 2019 to meet consumer demand are under threat. Many of these will be in the peak Summer season when families will be booking holidays, the organization said.

According to IATA, a ‘no deal’ Brexit could see flights capped, which would stunt economic growth and possibly lead to an increase in prices for consumers. 

“That current flight levels will be protected even with a hard Brexit is an important assurance. But with two months left until Britain leaves the EU, airlines still do not know exactly what kind of Brexit they should be planning for,” added de Juniac. 

“And there is legal and commercial uncertainty over how the Commission’s plan to cap flight numbers will work.” 

MPs are due to vote on May's amendment proposals for Brexit on January 29.

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