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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

European Commission confirms Brexit flight warnings

EU Commission warns UK flights could be prevented from flying to the EU after Brexit

The European Commission has issued a notice to flight operators warning that UK carriers could be prevented from flying in EU airspace in March 2019 if no Brexit deal is reached.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) released the notice from the commission’s directorate-general for mobility and transport, which states that when the UK exits the union it will be considered a “third country” unless an alternative deal is made in Brexit negotiations. If that happens, carriers with their “principal place of business” in the UK will no longer be entitled to the benefits of an EU operating licence.

Likewise, the commission warns that EU carriers would not be entitled to the benefits of UK airspace, essentially shutting the country off from mainland Europe if the government cannot negotiate a deal with the union.

In the letter, the commission states: “Air carrier of the United Kingdom will no longer enjoy traffic rights under any air transport agreement to which the union is a party, be it to or from the territory of the United Kingdom, be it to or from the territory of any of the EU member states.”

BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton commented: “Here it is in black and white from the EU Commission – UK flights to the EU will be grounded in March 2019 should no agreement be reached. We need the UK government to sort air traffic rights now. Once again, no deal is not an option.”

The news comes after the government confirmed it would be moving on to the next stage of Brexit negotiations, with ABTA urging for greater action to secure a viable solution for aviation issues. 


Yet more childish threats from the EU ! They really cannot understand that we are leaving the EU exactly for this reason- unjustified and irresponsible threats . They cannot be serious as a flight ban would have more serious consequences for their own airlines _many of whom are in precarious financial woes . Can you really see Spain, Portugal, France , Germany , Austria etc really becoming a no-fly zone ! Ridiculous and shame on the EU for even putting out such tosh.

Michael Edwards's picture
Michael Edwards (not verified)

Mr Ewards you are mistaken in your article stating that EU the looser. Your people's will not be able to travel from the UK unless your government can do a deal 're flights. Why do you think Easy jet now have a plan and have got an EU AOC. Holiday makers will get the boat to France or Ireland to get their holiday flights. Ireland have no passenger tax.
Your government are mad and have their heads in the sand. Nissan have 5000 employed and are on record that they have spare capacity in their plant in Spain. The Opel plant in Luton are owned by Peugot and so will go to France.

Michael Gosd's picture
Michael Gosd (not verified)

Michael, try setting up a new air service between say the UK and anywhere post 2019. The EU's jurisdiction and all the treaties and agreements that it obtained and which are currently used by the UK will no longer apply to the UK. Its that simple, we have chosen to leave the EU and all that it stands for. The inevitable consequence is, the UK stands alone and will have to negotiate afresh with everyone else, including the EU over these traffic rights. These can take years to settle in to a final stable form.
Yes, there may be some temporary restricted rights, but they are unlikely to be anything like as beneficial to the UK as now. Not least, because UK airlines will have had a substantial chunk of revenue removed, as domestic operations are only a small part of their revenue stream. After all, fly for about 20 minutes in any direction apart from north from London, or south from the Shetlands and you are in another country.
The no fly zone, is for traffic rights. You could fly to, or from, or over, but with no revenue from those to or from flights, what would be the point? More likely is that reciprocal traffic rights will be offered on a route by route basis, each one taking time to agree and with possible capacity restrictions etc. Not much chance of UK air transport still being a dominant force in Europe, as they will not get the traffic rights to do so there , or probably in any other markets either.
whatever, its a great uncertainty , with unforeseen revenue and cost implications. travel options given by Michael Gosd may become very necessary for UK traveller wanting to reach certain destinations. that should "help" our salesman trying to access the 20% of worlds trade no covered by EU based agreements

Martin Alder's picture
Martin Alder (not verified)

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