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
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
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.