Virgin Atlantic strongly believes that Britain would have a bilateral arrangement for transatlantic flights after it leaves the European Union.
Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Executive Craig Kreeger expressed his conviction that the UK would not cut itself off from the rest of the world, air connectivity—wise.
“I have a lot of confidence that what we’ve seen this year is an indication of the fact that the UK is not going to cut itself off from the rest of the world, from a travel perspective,” at Kreeger said at an industry conference.
“I‘m confident that the UK and U.S. will have a bilateral arrangement in place that means flights don’t cease. The things that are really important will work their way out over time.”
Britain needs to come up with an air transport service agreement with the EU to keep airplanes in the air when Britain leaves the bloc and will also need a replacement for the “open skies” agreement between the United States and the EU.
Ryanair CEO Michael O‘Leary has, time and time again, reminded the aviation sector of what’s at stake should there be no agreement in place when Britain leaves in March 2019.
A sharp fall in the pound was one of the direct influences of Britain’s vote to leave the EU in June 2016. That upset Virgin Atlantic, which leaned on revenues from British travelers in pounds but has many of its costs in dollars.
However, Kreeger said that demand from Britons to travel had been stronger than expected, while the airline had also benefited from more visitors than expected from the United States and Asia.
“We’d anticipated it being a really rough year. But we’ve had a really encouraging year against that backdrop,” Kreeger said. “We have seen that Brits are resilient. The summer holiday is sacrosanct. Demand has dropped a little bit, but nowhere near what you would expect with a 15 percent increase in the cost of travel abroad.”