The UK’s Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, remained optimistic of the country’s chances of securing a “good deal” on aviation post Brexit.
Grayling explained that his optimism comes from knowing that it would be in the interest of all European nations to settle on an “open, liberal arrangement for aviation” after the UK leaves the bloc.
Grayling disclosed that official discussions regarding the future economic relationship between the UK and the EU would be initiated “very soon” and that a framework for aviation in the future would be a “central part” of them.
“We are ready for those discussions,” Grayling said.
Grayling remarked that the planned expansion of London Heathrow as well as the healthy demand of carriers seeking access to European airports was “strong cards in our hand” for the negotiations.
He continued to say that the government is hard at work in developing UK agreements that would replace the EU-negotiated open skies pacts with the United States and Canada.
At the moment, the government is contemplating how it would respond to the feedback it had received following the public consultation on expansion of Heathrow, and is “on track” for a parliamentary vote on the plans within the year’s first half.
The Transport boss also stressed the importance of landing charges at Heathrow being “kept as close as possible” to existing levels, saying that they have increased “substantially” over the past decade.
“So that needs to be factored in to future plans,” he says.
The government is still coming up with a new aviation strategy for the UK, and Grayling claims that the recently appointed Aviation Minister Elizabeth Sugg would be “spearheading” formulation of the policies.
Grayling said that the strategy is geared to be a “wide-ranging blueprint for the sustainable growth of aviation over the next 30 years and beyond”.