European airlines chief 'optimistic' over Brexit outcome for passengers

Common sense will prevail to keep airlines flying after Brexit, a European airlines chief told its annual conference in Edinburgh today.

Wednesday, 10th October 2018, 4:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th October 2018, 10:28 am
Airlines chief Monserrat Barriga is optimistic about the Brexit outcome for aviation. Picture: Airports Council International

Montserrat Barriga, director general of the European Regional Airlines Association (ERA), said she was optimistic about the outcome.

She said: "We often hear 'common sense will prevail'.

"I personally think people's and companies' needs will prevail and there will be a positive agreement.

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"I am optimistic, but still realistic."

The association represents 50 airlines, including Loganair, Flybmi and Flybe, which fly 74 million passengers a year on 1,800 routes in a European industry that employ 300,000 people.

However Ms Barriga also warned the ERA general assembly at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre it would have to lobby hard to achieve that Brexit outcome next March.

She said: "European citizens need an open and unrestricted bilateral agreement between the EU and the UK.

"An early and favourable resolution of Brexit negotiations is urgently needed.

"The EU and the UK need to be far more transparent.

"Do we really think there will be aircraft grounded because of the lack of a political agreement?

"Brexit is a European problem that needs agreement for aviation before the UK formally leaves the EU - not just the day before it leaves the EU.

"We need a comprehensive agreement that includes traffic rights, pilot licences, security agreements, leasing conditions that hopefully mirrors today's situation as much as possible."