From the Experts

The potential impact of Brexit on the aviation sector

The briefing on connected aviation

The news, views and numbers you need to know this month


ountries in the European Union (EU) have been warned to prepare their airports and aviation sectors for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. At a briefing in June, Filip Cornelis, director of aviation at the European Commission’s transport department, advised countries to be ready for the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

A ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario could impact customs handing capacity, and Cornelis warned EU representatives at the meeting to prepare for impacts on security, market access, safety regulations and passenger rights.

If the UK leaves the EU without an aviation agreement, flights would immediately cease between Britain and the original 27 European Union member states (EU27), as EU-issued operating aviation licences would no longer be valid. The UK would also cease to be a member of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which issues the certification and licences required for European aircraft.

Leading aviation industry players have complained about the lack of progress in Brexit negotiations in their sector. However, according to a government spokesperson, ministers are confident they will secure a post-Brexit agreement.

Tom Williams, chief operating officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft

In any scenario, Brexit has severe negative consequences for the UK aerospace industry and Airbus in particular... While Airbus understands that the political process must go on, as a responsible business we require immediate details on the pragmatic steps that should be taken to operate competitively… Put simply, a No Deal scenario directly threatens Airbus’ future in the UK.

Image courtesy of Airbus

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of travel trade association ABTA

A year ago, I set out a number of areas in which we needed to see urgent progress – aviation access, movement of key workers, VAT and consumer rights. Twelve months on, and we still don’t have any clarity on any of these.

Image courtesy of ABTA

Mathew Riley, managing director of engineering and design consultancy Ramboll

Whilst this is good news for the economy and our industry, the reality is that it has taken successive governments 20 years to make a decision, and we still have the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn saying he may reverse this decision if Labour forms the next government.

Image courtesy of Ramboll

Baroness Sugg, UK Government Aviation Minister

Aviation, tourism and travel have never been more important to this country. Our future prosperity will depend even more on reaching out to global partners. Securing a good deal for aviation with the best possible access to Europe remains one of our key Brexit priorities.

Image courtesy of UK Government

Richard Corbett, Labour MEP for Yorkshire & Humber

We should aim to be part of the European common aviation area, which extends the liberalised aviation market beyond the EU and covers 36 countries, including Iceland and Norway… It is essential, however, to avoid slipping back with no deal at all and having to rely on age-old agreements that are no longer fit for the times that we fly in.

Image courtesy of Richard Corbett via Twitter

Letter from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and ADS

Without an agreed solution then supply chain disruption across Europe will occur, parts will be unable to be delivered, pilots and maintenance technicians will be unable to work, aerospace companies in the UK will lose foreign validations for their business, and aircraft will be grounded globally.

Image courtesy of 

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet

We are engaging with politicians here in the UK, we are engaging with politicians in the member states and the EU, with politicians in Brussels as well; everybody tells me the same thing: they want to have a deal on aviation. It would just be inconceivable that there would be no flying post-Brexit, so I’m very optimistic that there will be a deal on this.

Image courtesy of easyJet

Roy Kinnear, chief commercial officer of FlyBe

Right now we will continue to sell [tickets] in the hope and belief that when a conclusion comes to the Brexit scenario, common sense will prevail and people will realise the need for intra-Europe travel. The biggest fear has to be if at the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute there is a complete cessation and breakdown, and a shutdown of air travel between the UK and Europe. That is the ultimate worry.

Image courtesy of FlyBe

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