The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging the UK and European Union to take drastic action to ensure air services continue even in the event of no-deal Brexit.
The association has highlighted three critical issues: the uninterrupted continuation of air connectivity, the framework for regulating safety and security, and policies and processes needed for efficient border management.
The call for action follows the release of the IATA commissioned report “Study of the effects of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union on airlines flying to and from the UK”.
IATA director general and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac says there are no fallback agreements such as the WTO framework available in a no-deal Brexit.
He says: “Without any contingency planning being made transparent to the industry, the risks of not addressing these issues could mean chaos for travellers and interrupted supply chains. With less than six months to go, we have little more certainty than we did in June 2016.”
De Juniac says a transition period will bring a high degree of uncertainty while no-deal is likely to bring significant disruption to services.
The lack of transparency for any contingency planning has also left airlines in the dark as to what measure to take, he claims.
Safety is also a concern, with IATA calling for the UK to remain in the European Aviation Safety Agency and the EASA should have detailed discussions with the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority about the future relationship between the two bodies.
De Juniac says the fact formal discussions between the two have been forbidden is “ridiculous”, adding “safety and security should be non-negotiable”.
Border management is a major concern for passengers, but the situation is even more complex for goods as there has been almost no clarity on customs arrangements.
IATA says even under a transition period that shipments will be delayed or disrupted as new customs procedures are established.
De Juniac says: “Interference with the movement of people and goods will have a major and immediate knock-on impact to economic activity in both the UK and the EU. Solutions to minimise disruption are of paramount importance.
“We must have clarity on future border and customs arrangements now, if we are to plan for an orderly post-Brexit situation.”