The European Regions Airlines Association (ERA) has urged the European Commission to take necessary measures in advance of the UK leaving the European Union to prevent “serious harm to European connectivity.”
Andrew Kelly, ERA president, said bluntly in an open letter to the EC: “Even if there is a deal, there is a lack of clarity about EU ownership rules that could potentially ground big and small airlines alike, unless there is some form of moratorium. Yet, we get the sense from the politicians and officials that on the morning of 30 March, the aviation industry will wake up and go to work as usual, even if there is a hard Brexit. It won’t, it can’t, and the UK and EU need to wake up to that fact now, before it’s too late.”
The letter urged all sides to reach a solution as soon as possible to allow airlines to continue operating as they do today, and to avoid a potential ‘connectivity collapse’.
The ERA, which has 205 members including 50 airlines, states that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit outcome could have disastrous consequences for the aviation industry, including the grounding of many flights across EU countries and the UK. Additionally, it predicted there would be a significant impact on many other critical areas of aviation, such as air services agreements, aviation safety and security, border management and environment.
Montserrat Barriga, the ERA’s director general, added: “Now is the time to definitively confirm a reciprocal comprehensive agreement that protects the established pillars of European aviation. ERA’s position on Brexit remains to ensure open and free traffic rights for all EU and UK carriers between the EU and the UK, that EASA regulations continue to apply to UK carriers and that the EU and UK carriers can continue to freely lease aircraft to each other.”