The European Parliament will tomorrow discuss common rules ensuring basic air connectivity following a no-deal Brexit. They also hope to agree to aviation safety with regard how airlines will operate in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
One of the main topics for discussion is on the ownership and control of airlines like Aer Lingus. Although Aer Lingus is an EU airline it needs to comply with Regulation 1008/2008 whereby 51% of its shareholders must be EU. Given the high percentage of UK shareholders this would not be the case in the event of a no deal Brexit for IAG, Aer Lingus’ parent company. Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has pushed the amendment on ownership and control allowing them more time to restructure to March 2020 as opposed to having to restructure in 50 or so days and get approval.
There are serious questions over airline access particularly in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The European Parliament is proposing emergency measures given the implications on flights and airlines in a no-deal Brexit. I want to ensure as much connectivity as possible for airlines operating in and out of Ireland via the UK. We shouldn’t disadvantage Ireland’s air connectivity and our passengers.
In the case of a no-deal Brexit there could be restrictions on flights landing and taking off from the UK.
In the case of a no-deal Brexit there could be capacity restrictions which would limit the frequency of flights operating in and out of the UK. This could cause considerable inconvenience and expense to passengers who have already booked flights in 2019 based on flights currently available for purchase on airline websites and tour operator brochures, be they for business purposes or for indeed for leisure.
These measures that are being put in place are in the case of a no-deal Brexit, which nobody wants to see. Preparations however have to be made but what these measures do show is what we could be facing in a no-deal Brexit.
Also, the Commission proposal was to limit capacity at 2018 levels and the European Parliament has changed that to no restrictions.
In December the European Commission made their proposal for basic connectivity for aviation in the event of a no deal – this includes a capacity restriction, it doesn’t include provisions on code sharing and it also doesn’t have a grace period for ownership and control.