UK-Europe flights 'will be grounded' without Brexit deal

Flights between the UK and mainland Europe could be grounded if an aviation agreement is not signed off between Westminster and the EU before the end of the year, a senior Brussels official has said.

With Brexit Day taking place on Friday, focus now switches to the next stage of the complicated process - formulating a future agreement between both sides.

But the sheer number of sectors that require agreements to be reached before the December 31 could see some viewed as a priority ahead of others.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Read More

Read More
SNP set to unveil ‘Scottish visa’ plan to combat Brexit
The aviation sector - and ensuring flights continue between the UK and the continent - is just one aspect of negotiations that will open after Brexit day

“But then at some point a decision might have to be taken about what we go ahead with before the end of the year and what continues beyond the end of the year.

“And there are consequences to those decisions. The consequences are greater in some sectors than others. So the consequences of there not being an agreement on goods is greater than the consequences on their not being an agreement on services because if you don’t have an agreement on goods you have tariffs.

“And there are consequences to those decisions. The consequences are greater in some sectors than others. So the consequences of there not being an agreement on goods is greater than the consequences on their not being an agreement on services because if you don’t have an agreement on goods you have tariffs.

The official continued: “If for example there is no agreement on aviation by the end of the year then aircraft are grounded. That is a simple consequence of there not being an agreement on aviation rules.

“Aircraft cannot fly between the UK and the EU.”

At 11pm on January 31, the UK will officially cease to be a member state. Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the country enters a transitional period during which time the UK will abide by EU rules despite no longer being a member.

It had initially been set to last around two years but, because the Brexit leave date has been delayed twice since Theresa May negotiated the initial deal, the transition period will now last 11 months.

The UK Government said it was focused on securing the right arrangements for the future so that aviation industries could continue to thrive and passengers across the UK and the EU continue to enjoy connectivity and value for money.

A spokeswoman said: “As set out in the Political Declaration, the EU jointly agreed with the UK to do everything to conclude an ambitious future partnership by the end of 2020. We are discussing the structure and frequency of negotiations with the EU.

“It’s in the interests of both the UK and the EU to agree a future partnership that keeps goods flowing, services being provided and business being done, and that’s what we’re going to do.”