Published on : Thursday, December 28, 2017
There are few sectors which have received as much scrutiny as the airline industry. That’s because unlike in other areas, should the United Kingdom leave the European Union without a deal being struck there would be no World Trade Organization rules to fall back on.
The UK’s modern aviation agreements are so entwined with those of the EU that as things stand no flights would be able to take off or land on March 30, 2019.
Now, the likelihood of this actually happening is pretty remote. But that hasn’t done anything to assuage the concerns of some airlines.
Ryanair has been one of the most important critics regarding the UK government’s action so far.
In March, CEO Michael O’Leary said there was the “distinct possibility” of no flights for a number of months after March 2019. In April, the chief financial officer Neil Sorahan was in a cheerier mood, saying that the penny was starting to drop among politicians although he did warn that “there could be a period of time where flights cannot get in or out of the UK to Europe and vice versa.
CEO Michael O’Leary reiterated his warning in August, saying that it is becoming more and more likely that there will be disruption to flights in April 2019 and again in October. While other airlines may share his concerns, few have chosen to express them so publicly. At the same time, United Kingdom’s Transport secretary has done his best to extinguish any concerns.
In 2015 the tourism industry has contributed $83.5 billion (£62.4 billion) to the UK economy and “is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 3.8 per cent through to 2025.” Although the British tourism industry is nervous about how Brexit might affect inbound visitation, so far it has been one of the chief beneficiaries of the depressed pound with overseas visitors keen to take advantage of cheaper travel.