Flight, Risk & Reflections 2.

The 7th round of UK-EU negotiations has ended. So, here we are. Yet, another week goes by and the heal draggers win again. Instead of rapidly moving forwards towards a conclusion, to be the benefit of all, the situation remains with little progress being talk of[1]. Let’s remember it’s August. Only 4-months to wrap-up a legal text of a UK-EU agreement and to ensure that it’s accepted by the parties. The UK and 27 individual EU Countries must read, understand and ratify it.

The reflections coming from both sides at the table makes sorry reading[2][3]. What a depressing but predictable state of affairs. Reading a few of the comments people make on the current situation, I realise that the debate remains one of immense childishness, in some cases. This is not a game of cards. It’s not a football match. It’s not about victors and the vanquished. Every deal that was ever made, or ever will be made requires both parties to compromise.

Echoes of last year’s electioneering over an “oven ready deal” now look rather foolish. Where’s the UK Prime Minister? If there’s to be a No-Deal BREXIT outcome, then he will need to prepare the Country for it as soon as possible. If Brexit was originally about ending Freedom of Movement, it’s now about a whole lot more. The facts are that a No-Deal BREXIT outcome will make us all poorer. 

Major changes are inevitable, with or without agreement on a new UK-EU relationship. Citizens, organisations and companies need to get ready for 2021.

But it’s still not too late for a sound deal. The deal that can be struck with the EU will be the most important the UK can make in this decade. If it doesn’t strike, at least a basic deal other partners will look on and wonder why? or, in the worst case, see an opportunity to take advantage.  That’s not where anyone sane would want to be. 

In a No-Deal scenario the UK will lose the benefits it has in the European Single Market in Aviation. As if the COVID-19 virus impact wasn’t enough. The aviation industry has taken a direct hit with an estimated one-third of the global fleet grounded at a time that’s normally high season for holidays.

The Coronavirus lock-down measures have pushed the UK into recession, Contraction in the economy has been significant but even the numbers leave much of the story unwritten. On top of this the UK quarantine on Countries, including France is like banging nails into the coffin of the British travel industry. A No-Deal BREXIT outcome will finish the job off.  


[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-53854730

[2] https://no10media.blog.gov.uk/2020/08/21/david-frosts-statement-following-the-conclusion-of-round-7-negotiations-with-the-eu/

[3] https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_20_1511

Flight, Risk & Reflections 1.

Lucy Worsley’s stories about the biggest fibs in history are entertaining but enlightening too[1]. So, often competing versions of history get rewritten to fit the time and a place. It takes a while as the ebb and flow of social and political life chew on the facts. What’s different now is that we are living through a time when history is rewritten almost every week. The power and speed of social media throws up a massive churning of material and some of it never settles. That said, for those of us who were awake in 2015-16 it was easy to see that the direction of political travel was going to end in disaster. It’s a horrible play with no pleasure to say: I told you so.

The agenda for next week’s continuing round of EU-UK negotiations, in Brussels are now published[2]. It’s good to see that aviation has got a slot. We can all hope that the negotiations will make progress by compromise and reason and not get lost in more dogma and ideology. Usually August is a quite time in Brussels. Let’s hope that makes it a fertile environment for quiet reflection. 

At the moment, it seems the UK Government would rather focus on migrants making a Channel crossing than the future of the Country’s economy. With a quarterly drop of more than 20 percent in the UK economy, it becomes obvious why. The UK economy has been hit worst of all the G7 countries. The UK is now formally in recession.

In the past, there’s no question that UK air passengers enjoyed fantastic connectivity, both in terms of number of the destinations served and number of airlines flying routes. Today, sadly the story is one of decline from a peak. Passenger numbers are down significantly.

Aviation is critical to the UK especially with the mismanagement of the whole Brexit process. Aviation is one of the biggest connections the Country has with the rest of the world[3].  Allowing it to flounder and changing travel decisions weekly is a disaster[4]. This week the UK government added France, Malta and the Netherlands to the current ‘quarantine’ list.

BREXIT and COVID are a double whammy.  Add to that confusion and lack of direction and the results are devastating. 


[1] https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9680968/

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/negotiation-7th-round-eu-uk-agenda.pdf

[3] https://www.wearefinn.com/topics/posts/ads-calls-for-industry-safeguards-after-record-gdp-fall/

[4] https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/uk-aviation-coronavirus-cancelled-flights-quarantine-travel-a9668891.html#Echobox=1597329649