Possible no-deal Brexit making airlines very anxious

Brexit aviation
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IATA on Wednesday called for urgent action by the U.K. and European Union to put a contingency plan in place in the case of a no-deal Brexit next spring. 

Furthermore, IATA general secretary Alexandre de Juniac lamented that the aviation industry trade group does not have seat at the table in talks between the U.K. and EU for a bare-bones aviation agreement that could be implemented if a comprehensive Brexit deal isn't reached. 

"We are ready to offer our help," de Juniac said during a morning teleconference call with the worldwide aviation press corps. "The emergency starts today. As you know, we sell our tickets about six months in advance." De Juniac is concerned that airlines are selling tickets that they may not be able to fulfill.  

Under the Brexit process begun in 2017 by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, the U.K. is slated to formally exit the EU on March 29, 2019. The two sides have agreed to a transition period that would last until the end of 2020, during which time free movement of goods and people would continue while details of the new relationship are finalized. 

However, the transition period would only take effect as part of a comprehensive Brexit deal, which the parties have thus far failed to reach. The sides are hoping to agree to a blueprint for Brexit by the middle of next month, though they remain hung up over the keystone issue of how to maintain an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the post-Brexit landscape.

Absent a deal, the parties must either negotiate an extension to the Brexit timeline, which would have to be agreed upon by all 27 remaining EU members, or Britain would leave the EU without a comprehensive deal in place, an outcome that is being called a "hard Brexit."

In its call for action Wednesday, IATA called on the U.K. and EU to move much faster to provide certainly on issues related to air connectivity, the framework for regulating safety and security, and the policies and processes needed for efficient border management in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Under current agreements, airlines from all 28 members of the EU can fly freely in and out of the U.K. and within the EU's continental member states. IATA would like to see that continue. But in a worst-case scenario, the absence of any replacement agreement at the time of a hard Brexit would lead to a "nightmare" in U.K and EU airports, de Juniac said. 

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