“The fact that we’re selling tickets six months in advance that we can’t honour is slightly worrying for us.” That might have sounded like an offhand remark from IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac recently, but it came with a deadly serious warning that hundreds of thousands of passengers could be grounded or rerouted next April 1, should the UK `hard’ Brexit from the EU with no contingency plan for the continuation of air services, reports Quebec editor, Mike Dunbar in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.
De Juniac told a press briefing, “A no-deal Brexit without an agreement for a transition period, is likely to lead to significant disruption to air services. Moreover, the lack of transparency concerning any contingency planning for this scenario has left airlines completely in the dark as to what measures to take.”
Speaking by phone from IATA’s Montreal HQ, he stated, “The EU and UK have a responsibility to millions of their citizens who depend on reliable air transportation. The goal should be a comprehensive air services agreement that does not step backwards from the connectivity existing today.”
But with only five months to go, de Juniac warned, “A `no deal’ Brexit is still on the table this late in the game, so it is now essential that the EU and UK civil aviation authorities plan for contingency arrangements to maintain a minimum level of connectivity, which is vital for people and for business.”
And the former French government mandarin added, “This has to be one of the most important Brexit considerations. A backstop contingency plan to keep planes flying after March must be published, and quickly.”
For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.