Time is getting short for the EU and the United Kingdom to come to terms on an acceptable departure of the UK from the European com-mon market. With now just six months to go before the UK is slated to move out, there still seems to be no real movement by each side to come to terms. On the contrary, the fronts have hardened and industry leaders as well as the common folk are getting extremely nervous.
Why is there no dialogue
Some might say that in general the majority of the UK population did not know what they were getting themselves into when the referendum was called over two years ago in order to decide on the UK’s future in the EU. Fact is that a narrow majority of those who voted went for an “out.“ Fact also is that those whose future hangs closely within Europe, namely the majority of the younger generation, seemingly did not see the need to vote - hence letting their future slip out of their hands.
Too late now! - many say - but is it?
EU regulators are insisting that in their view the UK must “toe the line“ and drop out in accordance (whatever they might be) with EU rule. This has resulted in a useless, if not non-existent dialogue for the past two years and as time draws close nobody sees a light at the end of the tunnel. Many of the smaller technical drop-out issues have been solved, but the major ones have not.
Is there the possibility that a second referendum will be called? Something however which the present UK government categorically refuses. Or, if new elections are called in the UK, the present government falls and the Labour Party comes to power. But, will they change course and call a new vote or scrap the referendum held two years ago? Highly unlikely at the moment.
What about the aviation handling industry?
It’s interesting to note that the UK ranks as being the largest aviation sector in Europe. Every fourth passenger, that’s 25%, who lands or takes off in Europe, does so from the United Kingdom. Air freight also carries a heavy ratio on tonnage moved into and out of the UK. This does not just refer to British carriers, but also for most EU airlines which serve the numerous UK airports.
Who, then, is going to do what?
On the face of it and considering how (not) far negotiations are progressing, it’s a bit like the old “stick your head in the sand“ attitude and the hope that things will sort themselves out.
There are really only two workable scenarios: - (a) that a deal will be reached, despite the time constraint, and one which would as the ASA (Airport Services Association) in their recent update term as ‘preserving the status quo for the aviation sector.’ Highly unlikely in the present atmosphere, but definitely more attractive and easier to manage.
Or - (b) A complete ‘no deal scenario.’ - meaning the UK would cease to be in EASA and be forced to leave the EU aviation scene. With a no deal departure anything is possible, but nobody in charge seems to be listing the negative results or how to overcome them.
In such a case it would be up to individual organisations and handling companies to try and form their own separate deals or solutions. This, without at the moment having any idea as to how to do
Negotiations progressing well!
The above was the message that the UK Department of Transport gave on September 24th in their latest guidance paper on ‘Flights to and from the UK if there’s no Brexit deal.’
The paper makes interesting reading as on the one hand it states “we are progressing well“ and in the same breath it states that “preparations for a no deal scenario would have to be accelerated.“
At the end of September the European Commission did not act favourably to the aviation transition plan presented by the UK in case there is hard Brexit.
Head in the sand again?
John Mc Donagh