14 Mar

European Parliament votes on no-deal air travel arrangements 

The European Parliament voted yesterday (13 March) in support of UK airlines still being able to operate routes to and from the UK to EU countries, in the event of a no-deal Brexit. They will also be able to make stops in EU countries and fly over EU airspace.
The EU’s arrangements around flights are subject to the UK reciprocating these arrangements. Last week the UK Government confirmed it would reciprocate the arrangements around flights. 
The European Council is expected to approve the legislation shortly. 
ABTA has said that, while having plans in place in preparation for a no-deal is essential, securing a deal is 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 year1. 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.
“Maintaining good aviation links is among the core priorities ABTA has been lobbying for throughout the Brexit negotiations. More recently we have worked very closely with ABTA Members and our contacts in destinations and Brussels to argue against limiting flight routes to Summer 2018 levels and we’re pleased to see this has been taken on board.”
The original proposals from the European Commission on air travel in a no-deal Brexit included limiting flights to Summer 2018 levels. The European Commission’s draft regulations, published a few weeks ago, confirmed that this cap has now been removed from the plans, which was also confirmed with Wednesday’s vote. 
The no-deal flight arrangements will be in place until the end of March 2020 which would give the UK Government and the EU time to negotiate and agree a long-term approach to aviation. 
In terms of other modes of transport, 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. It is also expected that trains and coach travel will continue to operate in a no-deal Brexit. Customers are advised to check with their travel company ahead of their journey to see if there is any additional information they need to be aware of, in the event of a no-deal.
ABTA and its Members are offering advice to holidaymakers and business travellers heading to the UK after Brexit – with our latest information available at abta.com/Brexit.
For further information, contact:
Emma Brennan, Head of Media & PR, ebrennan@abta.co.uk  
ABTA press office, press@abta.co.uk or 020 3117 0596
Out of Hours:  Contact the Duty Press Officer via landline: 020 3693 0183
Web: www.abta.com
Twitter: @ABTAtravel
Notes to editors
1ABTA Holiday Habits report 2018: https://www.abta.com/industry-zone/reports-and-publications/abta-holiday-habits-reports
ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 65 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence. 
The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members. 
We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.
ABTA has around 1,200 Members, with a combined annual UK turnover of £38 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.