The clock is ticking faster now as we approach the next deadline of October 31st when the United Kingdom, at least according to Boris Johnson, will finally crash out of the European Union
unless he gives in to demands to postpone Brexit in the nick of time. The answer to that is still “as clear as mud” - as the English expression goes!
More important is whether the aviation industry, and all that hangs onto it, is ready or not.
Politicians have lost the plot
It is sad to watch what has been going on in the British parliament these past months. What should be a debate for the good of the nation has turned out to be a complete farce, with few, if any of the politicians actually looking at the country’s needs. Bickering on both sides of the famous House of Commons has turned Britain’s once famous democracy into a laughing number - or as some say, a new sequel to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The Brexit debate should have been one where the UK politicians find a way together with EU officials to ensure a smooth exit and continued good business relations. The opposite has occurred leaving the British public disorientated and dismayed as well as unsure about what the economic fallout will actually be once they depart. With both sides (EU and UK) blaming each other, the result may very well be a hard Brexit with all the unsavory trimmings which come with it. That includes the important aspect of cross-border trade, be it by road, rail or air.
Airfreight may be temporary winner
Airlines, shippers, airports, handling agents and many others are still in the dark as to whether the shop will be closed altogether if Mr Johnson does get his way and exits without a deal.
Much of the UK - European commercial traffic goes in both directions by road and rail. However, there is still a large amount entering the UK and Europe by air and here the question still remains as to whether this traffic might dry up if there is a hard Brexit.
As has often been reported the big problem still is how cross-Channel truck traffic will end up if customs procedures at ports on both sides go back to the dark-ages and the horror scenario of trucks tailing up for many miles, resulting in perishable and temperature sensitive cargo, of which there is much, having to be written off or destroyed.
And the winner is…
If the hard Brexit is forced through, then airfreight could well turn out to be the winner - for a while at least.
There may well be a huge demand for cargo space on either passenger services between the EU and the UK, as well as an all-out demand for full-charter aircraft giving what someone once said as the UK’s own Berlin type airlift.
Having to resort to air transport will result in prices for many commodities rising far above those of today.
The indications are that despite the so-called Yellowhammer Report, issued, but kept under wraps for too long by the UK government, that businesses and officials are not prepared and there is no wonder solution in the drawer.
But, will it all turn out that bad? All hope not, but the clock is ticking fast and as we go to press there are just about three weeks left for a miracle to happen.
Come on guys - get off your high horses and come up with a clean work-out!
Ironically, it might be Chief Brexiteer Johnson to come down from his high horse first. In submissions to a Scottish court he announced last Friday to send a Brexit extension letter to Brussels if there is no deal by 19th October.
Please stay tuned.
John Mc Donagh
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