The European Commission has told European Union diplomats that they should ponder the possibility of an agreement with the UK that would keep flights going should no aviation deal be settled in time for Brexit.
EU pacts let airlines operate and land in other member countries. However, Britain is set to leave the block by March 2019. With this impending development, fears are steadily rising that British carriers’ flights would remain on the ground in negotiators strike out on securing a deal.
Diplomats have reportedly seen slides of a UK-EU “bare bones” agreement that includes known safety standards and traffic rights.
If Prime Minister Theresa May could come to an agreement for a Brexit transition period with the EU, it would allow her people more time to develop those replacement agreements.
EasyJet has already opened a headquarters in Austria to ensure its freedom to fly once Britain leaves the EU.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has already relayed to European Parliament that his customers’ vacation holidays would be withdrawn after Brexit, reiterating that there is a solid chance that no deal would be made.
“There is a real prospect. And we need to deal with this, that there are going to be no flights between the UK and Europe for a period of weeks, months beyond March 2019.”
Slides that were seen by diplomats said the future relationship be pattered on current aviation pacts with the US and Canada.
The UK is set to depart from the European Aviation Safety Agency when it leaves the EU.
It comes as MPs in the House of Commons voted by majority to ratify the EU Withdrawal Bill after a third reading last night. The Bill would now be passed over to peers to examine more in the House of Lords.
It seeks to revoke the 1972 legislation that introduced what was then called the European Economic Community. It is also made to transfer Brussels laws into UK legislation.