Flights between the UK and European Union have been offered protection despite Brexit negotiations continuing this week. Holidaymakers feared for the future of British-based routes destined for EU member states yet a vote by the European Parliament today has deemed they will still be able to operate. They will also be permitted to make stops in EU countries and travel over EU airspace. The parliament gave their assurances for travel in the event of a no deal Brexit – something that was voted down by MPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Yet should a Brexit divorce deal not be secured, and an extension via Article 50 not obtained, Prime Minister Theresa May has made clear the UK would still leave the EU on March 29 without a deal.
Members also vowed to scrap a flight cap which would have limited the flight volume to summer 2918 levels, with Wednesday’s vote confirming this.
Travellers will be somewhat relieved to learn these new arrangements will be put in place until 2020.
Travel association body ABTA has said that, while having plans in place in preparation for a no-deal is essential, securing a deal is still the preferred outcome.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said: “Agreeing a deal between the UK and the EU should be the priority for politicians on both sides, however it is important that there are plans in place should a no-deal occur.
“This vote builds on the previous reassurances holidaymakers and business travellers have had from both the EU and UK Government that, deal or no-deal, flights will continue, meaning people can book with confidence.
“As many as 61% of UK citizens plan to take a trip to Europe this year. EU countries really value the contribution that UK tourists make to their countries – generating £37bn for their economies and supporting 870,000 jobs.
“We know from our discussions with destinations that they are keen to ensure travelling between the UK and the EU is as easy as possible after Brexit.
“Reaching a deal is very much the preferred outcome and we encourage politicians to explore all options to avoid a no-deal.
“If the UK and the EU agree a deal, there will then be a transition period which means everything will stay the same until the end of 2020.”
The new EU procedures are subject to the UK reciprocating these arrangement which, last week, it said it would do.
The European Council is expected to approve the legislation shortly.
Meanwhile, cruise and ferry sailings are subject to international maritime law so do not require any specific arrangements with the EU for continuation of services after Brexit.
Tonight, MPs in the House of Commons will vote on Mrs May’s proposed delay to Brexit with the implementation of Article 50.
They will also consider three other amendments, including that of a second referendum.