Abta is to release a report outlining its key priorities for the Brexit negotiations next week.

Public affairs director, Alan Wardle, said it would also set out “why the government must ensure there are clear transition plans in place by the end of the year”.

He said: “As the official two year countdown to Brexit begins, the priority for the travel industry is continuing to make sure that the government recognises the industry’s needs for a successful Brexit.

“Things we take for granted, such as the ability to travel without restriction across Europe and flying to many destinations, will need to be secured come Brexit day.

“We have been arming the government with facts and figures to empower their negotiations and will continue to do this over the coming months.

“We are in unchartered waters and inevitably there is going to be some nervousness. It is important the government helps maintain business and consumer confidence in travel at a time of uncertainty.

“Getting agreement on transition arrangements will be part of that but we also need to be wary about fearmongering and doomsaying tactics.
“We shouldn’t forget this is a two way negotiation – UK residents made 37 million business and holiday visits to the EU in 2015.

“We are a massively important travel market to the EU and its equally in their interests to have a good deal for travel and tourism.

“Abta will be making these points to politicians across Europe in the coming months.

“Next week we will release a report outlining our key priorities for the Brexit negotiations and why the Government must ensure there are clear transition plans in place by the end of the year.”

Meanwhile easyJet is close to announcing a licence application for an EU air operators’ certificate to secure its flying rights within Europe following Brexit.

Confirmation from the UK budget carrier came as the government triggered Article 50 to start the two year procedure to leave the European Union.

EasyJet plans to operate under three AOC’s in the future – UK, Swiss and EU – which will protect all its current network of flights.

The headquarters will remain in Luton and the airline will also remain listed on the London stock exchange.

The EU operating company would need to be EU owned but as easyJet currently has 49% EU shareholders this will not a present a challenge, the airline said.

“Around 110 aircraft and 4,000 of our crew are already based in EU 27 countries and those will be the basis for the EU operations,” a spokesman said.

“The remainder of easyJet’s 6,000 workforce will continue to be employed in the UK and Switzerland.

“It is in the interests of all consumers and all airlines, British and European, that flights continue between the UK and EU.

“When the UK leaves the EU, easyJet’s minimum requirement will be a straightforward bilateral aviation agreement between the UK and the EU which will allow UK airlines to fly to Europe and European airlines to fly to the UK.”
Lobby group Airlines for Europe (A4E) is also calling for consumers to continue to be able to fly.

“The aviation industry knows how to overcome challenges and deal with change, and that is exactly what we will do. A4E believes that for consumers, the most important thing is that they continue to receive the benefit of the current liberalised and deregulated aviation market,” the group said.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered airlines, said: “People will continue to want to fly across Europe after the UK leaves the EU.

“We look forward to the EU and UK reaching an agreement as soon as possible that allows consumers and businesses from all European countries to continue to travel to and from the UK and around Europe just as they do today.”

European Regions Airline Association director general Simon McNamara said: “Brexit is a European issue.

“Over 40% of our airline members from 16 different countries operate to, from and within the UK and we work to protect and safeguard our members’ interests, whether they are members of the EU, the European Common Aviation Area, or have a bilateral aviation agreement with the EU or another European country.

“Through our extensive experience, ERA will continue to support all our members flying to, from and within the UK.

“In the two years of negotiation, our aim is to ensure that our members can continue to offer the best connectivity for the citizens of Europe, the cargo they transport and to ensure a fair competitive playing field.”

John Grant, senior analyst at OAG, said: “Ultimately, any impact of Brexit on the aviation industry will largely depend on the negotiations that take place between the UK and the EU.

“The Department for Transport is extremely active and ahead of the game in terms of making sure UK airline interests are going to be protected throughout the Brexit process but it depends on the complexity of the negotiation.

“Now, we are in a common market; a free market where airlines that are registered in the EU can fly between any two points in any of those countries. Post-Brexit we would have to go back to the UK government, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Department for Transport to renegotiate several air service agreements on a unilateral basis with other EU countries.

“Brexit won’t only impact airlines flying from the UK but airlines flying to the UK as well. Airlines are fully aware of the issues that are facing them and are planning accordingly.”