According to the industry report seen by Reuters last Tuesday, airports in Britain could witness a rapid decrease in passenger numbers by as much as 40 percent unless an interim aviation deal with the European Union is stricken by the government by October next year.
According to a study commissioned by leading British airports which includes London’s Heathrow and Gatwick, said that flight could be grounded and Britains economy would be affected without a guarantee of access to the EU’s single aviation market in the future.
The report said that the government needs to ensure a deal well, before March 2019, when Britain leaves the EU as many passengers are booking months in advance.
There is no automatic fallback position if no agreement is reached. Unlike other areas that may be affected including trade.
The report also said that there could be a possible 41 percent decrease in passengers at the biggest airports in Britain between March 2018 and March 2019.
However, its central scenario assumes an uncertainty over flight statuses and an 11.5 percent decrease during the same period.
“The risk of no deal creates uncertainty for the industry,” the report declared. “Although an 11th hour deal may prevent planes from being grounded, damage to the aviation industry and the wider economy would have already been done.”
However, given what is at stake, it describes the possibility of Britain and the EU not completing a deal as “remote”.
The report mimics warnings from the CEO of Ryanair – Europe’s biggest airline – Michael O’Leary, who said that the threat of significant disruption to air travel from Brexit was increasing.
A spokesman for Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which runs Manchester and Stansted airports, said in a statement that “We are urging the EU and UK government to prioritise an interim deal on aviation as soon as possible.”
“Tickets will soon go on sale for flights in a post-Brexit world and both airlines and passengers need assurance from the EU and UK government to enable them to plan for the future.”
Furthermore, Heathrow airport’s spokesman said that they are confident that the government fully understand the sector’s significance.
“Aviation is absolutely crucial to the UK’s economy and we are committed to getting the right deal for Britain,” a spokesperson of the government stated.