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Airports

Grayling and Walsh sound bullish on Brexit

20 November 2017

The UK aviation community has cause for optimism over its post-Brexit prospects, according to speakers at the Airport Operators Association (AOA) conference – but others remain more pessimistic.Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling (pictured on 14 November) expects "an aviation deal before Brexit" but his optimism is not universally shared. (Getty Images)Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling (pictured on 14 November) expects "an aviation deal before Brexit" but his optimism is not universally shared. (Getty Images)

UK Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling and IAG CEO Willie Walsh each sounded positive over fears of a potential legal ‘black hole’ on flight arrangements after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union (EU) on 29 March 2019.

Since the Single Aviation Market was established in the EU in the late 1990s, route networks across Europe have grown with the UK aviation market now the biggest in the EU. The worry for many airports, especially regional gateways, is that no deal on aviation could lead to a “cliff edge” for aviation (as Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe, warned in March).

Grayling dismissed this fear in his speech at the AOA event, held in London on 30–31 October. “The interests of the aviation industry are central to government’s planning right now. It is inconceivable that the planes will stop flying – it’s not going to happen.”

He added out that many countries fly to the EU without any open skies agreement, noting that “I expect there to be an aviation deal before Brexit”.

Walsh of IAG – the owner of British Airways and Iberia – was also confident that nothing would change for the worse. “This is an opportunity for the market to be even more liberal than it currently is,” he said. “The minimum is that we recreate what we have.”

Not everyone in the UK aviation community shares this confident outlook. London City Airport CEO Declan Collier said he was “incredibly worried about the level of complacency. There’s a lot of goodwill, but wanting it to succeed isn’t enough. At the moment all I see is a huge degree of uncertainty facing our industry.

See related article at: http://www.janesairport360.com/article/9319/concerns-crystallise-over-impact-of-hard-brexit

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