A month back it was said that the UK Government’s post-Brexit proposals on aviation would give Britain an unfair economic advantage. There are no signs that the impasse of that time has been cleared. Far from “Getting Brexit Done” these complex negotiations drag on and on.
I’d penned a few words which have found their way to the delete folder. Now, as COVID-19 gathers pace again, the catchphrase: “We’re doomed!” comes to mind. The BBC sitcom Dad’s Army and Private Frazer’s gloomy: “We’re doomed!” has become a classic moment in British comedy. As we do lock-down again, it captures the moment nicely.
The sporadic imposition of national lockdowns and country-by-country travel restrictions have been a disaster for aviation. This crazy situation exists for both EU and non-EU States. Although the News of a potential vaccine has created buoyancy, the latest updates on the impact of the pandemic on the aviation industry makes grim reading.
COVID-19 is devastating the aviation and tourist industry. Add a clumsy exit to the transition period between UK and EU and it won’t just be lockdowns that keep Brits at home. That said, the more optimistic talkers in the industry big up the idea that an explosion of the desire to party will drive a return to normal air traffic levels next year. This is the upper end of the most optimistic projections.
Across the Atlantic, the fact of the matter is that the most powerful nation on Earth is going through a major transition. The Americans haven’t got over their midlife crisis – yet. Given the massive number of votes cast in the recent elections the margin of victory was surprisingly small. That’s a reminder of the Brexit referendum, here in the UK, if anything is. So, we know from experience there’s no such thing as an instant healing process. Moving to a more multilateral and outward looking vision of the world will take time.
Meanwhile, what’s astonishing in Europe is UK Brexit supporter’s keenness to take a bad situation and make it even worse. The UK Government’s Internal Market Bill is a perfect example of a bad apple turning a whole basket of apples bad. To its credit the UK Parliament’s House of Lords recognised the problem and addressed it. Trouble is the House of Commons is likely to ignore common sense and march ever more towards a cliff edge.