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Government urged to agree interim ‘open skies’ deal with EU

Passenger demand for flights could fall by as much as 41 per cent if an interim “open skies” aviation deal is not struck quickly between the UK and EU.

The claim is made in a report submitted to the government by leading UK airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Stansted, according to Sky News, which has obtained a copy of the report.

The report, written by consultancy WPI Economics, urges the UK government to target October 2018 as a deadline for a new interim aviation arrangement with the EU.

It also looks at a number of potential scenarios caused by Brexit – the most negative forecast is for a 41 per cent drop in passenger demand across the UK’s major airports between March 2018 and March 2019. 

This would mean 16.2 million fewer journeys between the UK and EU and a 20.6% decline in flights during this 12-month period.

“With airlines, passengers and airports having to plan months if not years in advance, this has potentially detrimental consequences for UK competitiveness, trade, growth and living standards, which all become more significant the longer that UK and EU negotiators fail to deliver a new trading relationship or transitional deal,” says the report.

“Although an 11th-hour deal may prevent planes from being grounded, damage to the aviation industry and the wider economy would have already been done.”

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