The UK government has issued a series of warnings on potential disruption for citizens travelling into and from the EU by road and air.
While the government is still claiming it is confident a deal will be struck, the latest ‘technical notice’ is one of a series of letters issued to allow the country to prepare for no deal.
The DfT says it is putting contingency measures in place “to ensure holidaymakers and businesses can travel and explore after Brexit”. It is advising the aviation industry to review ‘potential implications’ for supply chain and staff with specialist qualifications.
The guidance on aviation security says the current regulations – based on EU rules – will remain in place, but if the EU decides not to recognise UK standards, passengers transferring to other flights at EU airports might have to go through security checkpoints again regardless of being screened in the UK.
More importantly, a no deal Brexit could mean that airlines that operate flights between the UK and EU “would lose the automatic right” to continue those services.
The government warns that carriers would have to seek individual permission to operate between the UK and EU. While the UK would grant permission for EU-registered airlines to continue operations within the country, the EU may decide not to offer a reciprocal agreement.
The government says it would prefer to establish a multi-lateral agreement with the whole of the EU but would be willing to negotiate flight rights with individual countries within the union.
However, EU-licensed airlines would need to apply for a foreign carrier permit and a UK safety authorisation with the UK Civil Aviation Authority, both of which are established practices for non-EU airlines.
And airlines based in countries outside of the union that have bilateral agreements based on the UK’s membership of the EU would also have to apply for permission to operate flights in the UK, though the government says “replacement arrangements” will be made before 29 March 2019.
Likewise, UK-based airlines would need to apply for the appropriate permissions to continue offering flights to and from the EU. They would also ‘need to consider’ whether the nationality and level of investment of their shareholders is permitted under the conditions of their air service agreement.
However, the government believes it would “not be in the interest of any EU country or the UK to restrict the choice of destinations that could be served”.
And leaving the union without a deal does not necessarily mean flights would be grounded the day after Brexit, as the European Commission has said it would put in place a “bare bones” agreement with the UK to ensure flights could still operate.
Some carriers have already started preparing for the potential impact of Brexit, with Ryanair applying for a UK operating certificate and Easyjet establishing a base in Vienna to obtain permission to fly in both the UK and EU.
UK drivers have also been warned that their licence may no longer be valid for driving in the EU if a deal is not struck and citizens moving to an EU country may not be able to switch their licence. In this instance, drivers might be required to obtain an international driving permit (already available for those who want to drive in the some states in the US) to drive or hire a vehicle in the EU, which will cost £5.50.
Citizens already resident in EU countries and intend to stay after Brexit are being advised to change their UK driving licence to an EU one before exit day.
The news comes after the government warned UK passport holders that they could be subject to new restrictions when travelling to the EU after Brexit.