Brexit & Aviation 62

This week the focus has been on Northern Ireland (NI).  It may not be well known by everyone, but NI has a considerable Aerospace sector.  It’s continued success is vital to NI[1].  Aerospace contributes to over a £1bn a year to the NI economy.   It’s a deep-rooted industrial sector too.  I remember visiting Shorts Brothers of Belfast in the 1990s.  Today, Bombardier has a large workforce in NI[2].  From design to manufacture to support work, Bombardier Belfast specialises in major aircraft structures and flight control surfaces in metal and composites.  If the issues concerning Ireland become insoluble then the resulting EU-UK No Deal outcome of negotiations will damage NI and the rest of the UK.

In the UK, there are devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and NI.  Exiting EU law applies equally across the UK but there’s concern that fragmentation could occur after EU exit.  There are efforts to ensure a common framework, but these don’t yet address aerospace or aviation with respect to UK law.   On leaving the EU single market the UK internal market needs to maintain a level playing field whist recognising devolved powers.

Brexit remains the top immediate risk to the growth of aviation in Europe[3].  Passenger traffic growth across European airports has been relatively high in recent years.  The UK leaving the EU with No Deal could lead to cap on flights and higher prices for customers.   There remains legal and commercial uncertainty for airlines on post-Brexit air travel[4].

At a time when there should be renewed intensity and seriousness to discussions and negotiations, we see the opposite from a succession of UK Members of Parliament.   Attempts to polarise and heighten tension are coming from those who foolishly wish to bring about a No Deal outcome.

Aviation cannot wait for the UK to strike an 11th-hour Brexit deal, so measures are being taken now.  With 50 days to run, time is tight.  Travellers planning business trips and family holidays after 29 March 2019 should do so with some caution.  Checking terms and conditions in detail would be a wise move.

[1] https://www.adsgroup.org.uk/about/ads-offices/northern-ireland/

[2] https://uk.bombardier.com/en/about-us/bombardier-in-country/sites/site.aerospace-belfast.html

[3] ACI Europe director general Olivier Jankovec said: “With less than 60 days left before the UK exits the EU, Brexit remains the top immediate risk.

[4] https://www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/Pages/2019-01-15-01.aspx#__prclt=QqEx89ur

 

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