Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, 86% of MPs across the House of Commons agree that the country’s international air connectivity is even more important.
In a survey by ComRes, on behalf of the Airport Operators Association, MPs unanimously agreed that it was vital for the UK to ensure continuity of air services to not only the EU but also USA and Canada. What’s more, they also agreed that securing aviation agreements with such countries should be a priority for the Government as part of the EU referendum, which will be needed to replace the existing EU level agreement.
Separate from any trade agreements, aviation doesn’t form part of the World Trade Organisation system, instead, countries negotiate bilateral or multilateral air services agreements to provide airlines with the legal rights to fly to certain places. These can be very restricted (e.g. one flight a week to a specific airport only) or very liberal (anytime, anywhere).
Speaking about the future aviation deals for the UK, Chairman of the Airport Operators Association, Ed Anderson, said, “International aviation connectivity will the foundation upon which a truly global Britain is built, with already nearly three-quarters of visitors to the UK and 40% of the UK’s trade by value travelling by air. UK airports stand ready to facilitate this future connectivity.
“The UK was the driving force behind the open and liberal approach to air connectivity within the EU and between the EU and countries like the US and Canada. This move away from the old, restrictive approach to aviation has benefited consumers and businesses alike: more destinations are served from the UK more frequently and at lower fares.
“It is important that UK families going on holiday and businesspeople seeking out new trade opportunities can continue to enjoy the benefits we see today of an open aviation market.
“It is good to see MPs recognise this and believe, like the AOA does, that the UK Government should prioritise new aviation agreements. This will ensure that the legal framework for aviation links with the EU, the US and other countries seamlessly continues once the UK leaves the EU. We look forward to working with the Government to make the case at home and abroad for a deal that works for everyone.”