This week, I flew EasyJet mid-week from Bristol to Glasgow and back. On the flight back, I noticed that the AIRBUS aircraft we flew on was registered in Austria. It must be one of the 130 aircraft listed as registered to easyJet Europe Airline GmbH. Now, there’s no single EU aircraft registry but this is an aircraft that is registered in an EU Member State.
The trip got me thinking that such a flight may not be possible after Brexit day in March. This was an internal flight within the UK (England to Scotland). In the event of a No-Deal Brexit, the EU has made it clear that UK registered aircraft will not be authorised to make internal flights within the EU. I presume that the reciprocal will be true. Otherwise the UK will be giving away rights that it can not excercise in the EU. Thus, no EU Member State registered aircraft will be authorised to make internal flights within the UK.
I also got to thinking; what will Scotland do in the longer term? It’s highly likley that the Scotish nation will want to retain the benifits of EU membership.
On Tuesday next, the UK Parliament should be holding a meaningful vote on Prime Minister (PM) Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement. There’s much speculation that British Members of Parliament (MPs) are positioning themselves for the vote to be lost by a large margin. So, Tuesday, 15 January 2019 could go down in history as a momentous day for British politics. The reason is clear. The UK Government has put all its eggs in one basket. In a crude attempt to apply pressure to MPs, this is seen by many as a Deal or No-Deal situation. As the clock ticks, MPs voting down the Deal on the table, which may well be amended, is increasing the chance of a No-Deal Brexit. There’s some strange talk of a “managed” No-Deal but, in fact, there’s no such thing on offer. The real choice is a mess of a Brexit or No Brexit at all.
Again, the aviation industry is making it clear that such a No-Deal Brexit outcome would be disastrous. Several UK businesses are already kicking-in their No-Deal contingency plans. This could mean a great deal of business moving out of the UK and into the EU. The lost opportunity costs associated with all this muddle and uncertainty must be huge. Stability is worth a great deal to investors and those who are building businesses across Europe. Additionally we must remember that the UK maybe leaving the EU, but it is not leaving Europe nor can it.
The benefits of staying in the EU’s Internal Market for Aviation are extremely clear. It is my hope that a No-Brexit outcome is arrived at. Parliament will need to explore all the options. This would certainly be best for travellers, aviators and the industry that supports them in the whole of Europe and beyond.