Abta today welcomed government confirmation that it will reciprocate the European Union’s arrangements for air travel in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

This means that EU airlines will be able to continue to operate flights between the UK and the EU, even if the UK leaves without a deal.

It reciprocates plans the European Commission is putting in place, which would allow UK airlines to operate routes to and from the UK to EU countries.

They will also be able to make stops in EU countries and fly over EU airspace.

The European Parliament is due to vote next Wednesday to approve the legislation, with the final vote in Council to take place within the next two weeks.

Initially the commission said flights for this year would be capped at summer 2018 levels in a no-deal.

However, it has now been confirmed that this has been removed from the final legislation.

Aviation minister Liz Sugg said: “Measures put forward by the UK and the EU will ensure that flights can continue in any scenario; deal or no deal.

“This is good news, not only for the industry but most importantly it reaffirms the fact that passengers can book flights with confidence, as normal.

“We expect these contingency measures will never be needed and our efforts remain focused on securing a deal from the EU.”

The Department for Transport added:  “These proposals are a no deal contingency measure and will only come into force if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The UK remains committed to securing a deal but continues to prepare for all scenarios.

“Around 164 million passengers travel between the UK and the EU each year so these measures will ensure that passengers can continue to take business and leisure flights in a no deal scenario.

“This announcement gives industry certainty and the public the assurance needed to book and fly with absolute confidence.”

Abta has been lobbying officials in Brussels and European governments about the air travel cap, highlighting the detrimental impact it would have on the growth of tourism and destination’s economies.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “Today’s announcement provides further assurance that, whatever the outcome of Brexit, travellers can continue to book holidays and business trips with confidence.

“Europe is the most popular holiday destination for UK travellers with 58 million trips made to the continent each year.

“More than three in five people are planning to take a trip to Europe this year, so travellers will be pleased to see the final confirmation from the UK on their ability to fly even in the event of a no-deal.

“It’s worth remembering that if the UK and the EU agree a deal, we will be in a transition period and everything will stay the same for travel until the end of 2020 – meaning people can continue to travel to the EU exactly as they do now.

“While it is encouraging that there are plans in place for a no-deal scenario, we encourage politicians to work to avoid a no-deal Brexit.”

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said:  “We welcome that the UK has confirmed its plans to allow flights to continue in a no-deal scenario, as the EU has also done.

“This gives passengers and cargo operators the certainty and confidence that they can continue to fly as normal after the UK has left the EU.”

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