UK airlines facing harsh post-Brexit rules - report
British airlines could face vastly restricted access to European Union airports after Brexit, according to leaked negotiation papers.
The UK's airlines will see their rights to operate in the bloc severely curtailed unless the country agrees to be tied by EU laws and courts, the Financial Times reported on Friday.
Downing Street has been aiming to negotiate a "bespoke" deal with the EU to protect various key industries and arrangements after Brexit is completed.
But as preparations are made by the remaining 27 members of the EU for future relations with Britain, the European Commission is not allowing much room for such a bespoke arrangement, according to a presentation seen by the FT.
The paper said UK-owned airlines would automatically lose existing flying rights in Europe’s open aviation market if Britain left the Single Market, and would need to arrange new approvals for parts and certificates for airworthiness.
Earlier this year, UK airlines such as EasyJet, British Airways owner IAG, Ryanair and Thomson owner Tui Travel were warned they could lose the right to fly certain European routes after Brexit unless they move their headquarters onto the continent and must ensure a majority of their shares are EU-owned. This might mean Ryanair and easyJet would have to buy up shares or ensure shareholders at least 50% of their shares were owned by EU nationals in order to keep their European licences and flying rights.
The EC report said all "rights, obligations and benefits derived" would be removed post-Brexit: "No traffic rights — end of market access; ownership & control rules — third country restrictions kick in; end of mutual recognition of certificates; end of participation in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).”
“Air freedoms [are] granted by way of international agreement. What is not expressly agreed is prohibited.”