The EU has released its contingency action plan for aviation in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
In its press release, the European Commission stated that it had “adopted two measures that will avoid full interruption of air traffic between the EU and the UK in the event of a no deal”: namely, a proposal for a regulation to temporarily ensure the provision of air services (for 12 months), and a regulation to temporarily extend the validity of certain aviation safety licenses (for nine months).
However, the Commission added: “These measures will only ensure basic connectivity and in no means replicate the significant advantages of membership of the Single European Sky. This is subject to the UK conferring equivalent rights to EU air carriers, as well as the UK ensuring conditions of fair competition.”
The plan also included a provision for UK operators to temporarily carry goods into the EU (for nine months), including road hauliers, as long as the UK returns the favour.
In relation to customs, the plan specifies that all relevant EU legislation on imports and exports will apply to goods moving between the EU and the UK.
The UK’s Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, responded: “The European Commission’s proposals today are welcome. We need to study the detail, but any steps to ensure UK hauliers can continue carrying goods into the EU in the event of a no deal is good news, as is ensuring flights are maintained between the UK and EU immediately after Brexit.”
The UK had previously published reports outlining a very general plan that likewise stated its dependence on reciprocity, suggesting that 37 airlines could lose their licenses in the event of no deal.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) had made urgent calls for the UK and the EU to elaborate on their respective contingency plans, criticising a lack of detail with only months to go before the Article 50 deadline.
Following the release of the EU’s action plan, the Airports Council International (ACI) Europe pointed to the fact that UK airlines will not be able to add any new routes or increase frequencies on existing ones, to emphasise that a no-deal outcome should be avoided.