IATA's Regional Vice President for Europe calls for further clarification on negotiations surrounding EU-UK deal.

Rafael Schvartzman

The risk of a no-deal Brexit causing major problems to the aviation industry is ‘high’, IATA has said.

Speaking at Global Media Day in Geneva, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe, Rafael Schvartzman said airlines continued to face uncertainty ahead of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in March 2019.

“The risk is high,” said Schvartzman when asked how plausible it was that a no deal scenario would arise, causing problems for airlines and passengers alike.

As the UK continues to negotiate with the EU, the aviation industry remains in an uncertain situation.

Commenting on the continuing negotiations, Schvartzman said:  “The deal that is being considered would create conditions for a two-year transition, which is much better than a no-deal scenario.

“To avoid serious disruption for airlines and air travelers, the UK government and parliament needs to resolve this impasse.”

IATA has welcomed the publication of details regarding contingency plans, but said further clarification is needed.

An IATA Brexit report, conducted by consultancy Taylor Airey, found four key issues surrounding the situation to be lacking in clarity: air services agreements, safety framework, security, and border management.

Reiterating his point on the need for transparency on any Brexit agreement, Schvartzman said that a ‘no deal’ scenario would leave “no time to negotiate” an air service agreement between the EU and UK, disrupting air connectivity.

“We require much more clarity and transparency on what is being agreed,” he said.

On the subject of the safety framework, IATA has called on the UK to remain in the European Aviation Safety Agency as a ‘third country’ member, while the organization believes continued use of e-gates and visa-free travel could alleviate further delays for passengers in regards to border management.

Schvartzman also said that security continues to be a priority in the developing situation, and implored the UK and EU to continue with a mutual recognition of security standards.

“Potentially, if the UK falls out of the EU without an agreement on security, it could mean passengers and baggage need to be rescreened on flights into the EU from the UK,” said Schvartzman.

IATA has called on the UK to be added to the EU’s ‘third country list’­-which includes the US, Canada, and others-for passenger, baggage, and freight security.

“There are clear incentives to add the UK to the list, as extra screening would be detrimental to the entire European aviation industry,” Schvartzman concluded. “Duplication of security controls at EU-UK borders will cost tens of millions a year. We must retain the status quo.”