THE UK and the EU is yet to reach an agreement on its trading relationship post-Brexit, and this uncertainty is causing great frustration to the air freight sector. With political confusion still dogging the entire Brexit process, the possibility of a No-Deal withdrawal is becoming very real; an outcome which would severely impact the air freight sector and wider UK economy, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the organisation which leads for logistics in the UK.
For businesses trading across Europe, preserving the smooth flow of goods across the UK-EU border is their number one priority. But in the event of a No-Deal exit, there would be no transition period and all existing UK-EU co-operation and mutual recognition agreements in place for the aviation sector would cease with immediate effect. This means British-registered aircraft, airworthiness certificates and airfield security certifications would no longer be automatically recognised and flying permissions would be denied.
Comprehensive ‘mini deals’
If the UK does leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement in place, the air freight sector would urgently require a series of comprehensive “Mini Deals” to keep planes flying in EU airspace and mitigate any disruption to the UK’s supply chain.
These deals would need to recognise flying rights, air worthiness certifications and air crew qualifications. And while some of these deals have already been negotiated, many more are required to ensure that flying schedules can be confidently delivered. FTA has prepared an exhaustive list of “Mini Deals” which we will demand the UK government prioritises with Brussels urgently to limit the disruption of a No-Deal scenario.
In the meantime, governments on both sides – EU and UK – have released enough detail on their No-Deal planning arrangements to allow businesses to begin their preparations. Given the increasing chances of a No-Deal, FTA strongly advises businesses to heed the advice provided by the government and ramp up their preparations, before it is too late. The logistics sector has been lobbying government for two years for detailed information and support to ensure that the nation can continue to trade efficiently after Brexit.
FTA continues to work hard to convince decision makers of the crucial importance of leaving the EU with the least possible disruption. But with the clock ticking, there is still much to be agreed to ensure air freight – a mode accounting for 40% of UK imports and exports by value – continues to thrive post-Brexit.
Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.
A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.