Daily Management Review

IATA: EU-UK flights can be cancelled due to Brexit disagreements


Head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Alexandre de Juniac, said that the current uncertainty around Brexit can harm not only airlines, but also air passengers. In his opinion, unless negotiations on arrangements in the field of air transportation between the UK and the EU already in the coming weeks, many flights can be cancelled in the next year.

Alexandre de Juniac. Photo by Jérémy Barande
Alexandre de Juniac. Photo by Jérémy Barande
In the evening of September 25, the head of the International Air Transport Association, Alexandre de Juniac, issued a statement in which he spoke very harshly about the current uncertainty surrounding Brexit: "The UK government's documents on the consequences of leaving the EU without reaching preliminary agreements clearly show the extraordinary seriousness of what is put in the game, and underscore the enormous amount of work that remains to be done to preserve vital air links."

The head of IATA said that when talking about the need to urgently conclude agreements between the UK and the EU, he does not only mean permission for take-off, landing and ground handling, but also much more - from the licenses of pilots to security agreements.

In his opinion, much of this can be achieved based on "mutual recognition of already existing standards." "However, formalization of such agreements is not done in one evening," he stressed.

The head of IATA believes that even if such agreements can be concluded at the very last moment, the airlines will face some administrative difficulties when interacting with authorities during their implementation. "We can at least start preparing for any emergency situation, so we urge the EU and Great Britain to be more transparent in conducting such negotiations," said Alexandre de Juniac.

On March 29, 2017, the United Kingdom formally notified the European Commission that it would withdraw from its membership in accordance with Art. 50 of the EU Treaty. The withdrawal of the UK from the EU should take place two years after the notification, that is, in March 2019.

An uncertain situation frightens not only IATA. Two weeks earlier, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said that in the case of a "hard" "Brexit", aircraft can simply remain on the ground. In an interview with Sky News, he said that "we all, working in this business, want to see a good result of the entire Brexit process, but the problem is that we have very little clarity from the British political leadership." "Meanwhile, we are getting closer and closer to the date (of exit from the EU)," O'Leary said.

The withdrawal of the UK from the EU without agreements can affect not only the market participants in the aviation industry, but also ordinary passengers. In a commentary to Bloomberg, the head of IATA stressed that "air ticket sales (on dates after March 2019) begin now." "Everyone thinks that there will be some decision, so no one wants to postpone the purchase of tickets. But the closer we are to April, the more uncertain the situation becomes and the larger the consequences," he said. Previously, IATA stated that the best solution would be to conclude an agreement on air services between the EU and the UK by October this year. But so far such agreements have not been heard. "This is absolutely unprofessional, risky and simply disrespectful to passengers who bought tickets," Mr. de Juniac stressed.

source: bloomberg.com