UK Government Announces Policy on EU Air Services

The UK Government’s Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, has announced a policy statement to set out how the UK intends to provide the necessary permissions to member state airlines in order for them to operate to the UK.

Back in December, the EU provisionally agreed a regulation intended to apply after the UKleaves the EU, which would entitle UK airlines to continue operating air services from the UK to the EU until March 2020.

Speaking on March 7, Secretary Grayling stated that leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s top priority but noted that “a responsible government must plan for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario.”

He added that the Government had made all decisions in relation to how the UK will reciprocate based on three key principles. He explained:

“First, we want to provide certainty and reassurance to industry and consumers.

“Second, we want to minimise the potential for disruption.

“Finally, we want to maintain a level playing field for UK industry, ahead of future negotiations.

“Full details on how the UK will reciprocate are set out in the policy statement. In short, for the 12-month duration of the EU regulation, the UK intends to reciprocate the rights provided in the EU’s regulation, and grant EU air carriers a level of access to the UK at least equivalent to the rights that would be granted to UK airlines under the regulation. This includes traffic rights, ownership and control, leasing of aircraft, cooperative marketing arrangements and fair competition.

“As an exceptional measure to ensure the continuity of regional services and to minimise disruption, we will for a short period go further and allow member state airlines to operate wholly within the UK for the IATA summer season 2019, which ends on 27 October 2019, ensuring continued regional connectivity and providing time for EU businesses to adjust to new arrangements. We will also allow code sharing on existing services to continue.

“While continuing to plan for all eventualities, we also believe that it is right to underline the fact that the UK is taking a positive and pragmatic approach. Overall, we continue to believe that liberal, reciprocal market access is in the best interest of the EU countries and the UK, and we will move swiftly to propose negotiations on this basis in the event that the UK leaves without a withdrawal agreement.”