2018, Brexit and the aviation industry
As we enter the New Year the aviation industry is making operations planning decisions for the coming 12 -18 months and planning is made even more pertinent as Brexit negotiations continue. Clearly high on the government agenda, Brexit also rides high for the airlines of the UK and Europe owing to the fact that legal permissions that allow airlines to fly between the UK and the European Union are set at an EU level. As Christine Ourmières-Widener, Chief executive of Flybe recently said: “Although the UK will not leave the EU until 2019, there is a lot of work and negotiation to be done by governments on both sides,” she said.
According to a report in the Financial Times, towards the end of last year, if Britain left the single market, UK-owned airlines would automatically lose flying rights to EU airspace and would no longer be recognised for airworthiness certificates or parts. However, steps to alleviate such a significant shift in market dynamics which would place UK operators and service companies at a severe disadvantage are already well in train. The EU withdrawal bill (although not yet finalised) seeks to transfer much of the existing legislation across from the EU to the UK statutes. Nevertheless, there remains a challenge for UK aviation if the mutual recognition of certifications is not upheld.
Over and above all this, other significant challenges for the aviation industry this year include the rising cost of fuel and the ongoing issue of Air Passenger Duty. Nevertheless, traveler numbers overall continue to rise and the demand for both business and leisure travel overseas remains strong.
2018 will be a year of challenge for the aviation industry. Being agile and fleet of foot will be a key requirement. Will we know the definitive impacts of Brexit on Britain’s aviation industry by the end of 2018? We doubt it very much, but hopefully, the mists will be clearing. Those businesses who are able to adapt, cross-skill, develop and recruit great staff will be the ones to ride out the storm. Regulatory consultants who are able to advise and influence policy will certainly be one of the skill sets that are required.