The UK should officially exit the EU by 31st March 2019. There is much to negotiate and resolve between the UK and the EU. The aviation industry in the U.K is particularly concerned.
Ryanair in particularly have been very vocal in their concerns as they are based in Ireland which is not in the U.K. and will obviously remain in the EU, however the airline has many U.K. bases with flights to EU countries but even more concerning is the domestic flights within the U.K. These flights may not be allowed after Brexit unless an agreement is reached.
EasyJet is another carrier that could suffer as a consequence of Brexit. It currently has its HQ in Luton, England but currently offers many flights within Europe, these flights depart and arrive at airports within Europe which after Brexit again it may not have the authorisation to operate unless a deal is reached.
Airlines have to have a HQ in an EU country and meet various other conditions to operate EU – EU flights. It is thought British Airways will not be affected as all its flights originate or arrive in the U.K. and BA’s owner IAG is based in Madrid anyway. Currently Ryanair for example operates flights out of the UK under an EU-wide open skies agreement which also includes non-EU countries Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Morocco. One might say that the UK can just sign up to the open skies pact? The problem is by signing up to open skies you are blinded to regulatory oversight by the European court of justice and the free movement of people. The UK government has already made it clear that they do not wish to have free movement or for the European court of justice to have regulatory power in the UK and these 2 parts of the EU will be red lines in the Brexit negotiations.
Ryanair and EasyJet continue to lobby the government and this will continue to be an issue for these airlines moving forward due to the uncertainty as they may not know the outcome until very close to the UK actually leaving the EU in March 2019, this could cause problems as airlines typically release schedules and seats for sale 18 months ahead of the flights operating.
We will watch this space and keep you updated.