MPs will hold a one-off session next week to consider Brexit’s impact on aviation, after the industry has called for certainty on flying rights when Britain leaves the European Union.
The Transport Select Committee has invited airline and airport representatives to the evidence session, including Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye, and British Airways owner IAG’s chief executive Willie Walsh.
Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said transport secretary Chris Grayling “presented a confident view of the situation post-Brexit for UK aviation” when he appeared before the committee last week.
Greenwood said next week’s session “will test whether this optimism is justified, when we hear from the UK’s leading airlines and airports with a view to getting their take on the current progress of negotiations and the potential implications from delays in securing a transitional deal for aviation”.
Grayling was grilled by the committee over the fate for UK aviation post-Brexit along with other matters such as the collapse of Monarch Airlines this month.
The UK will no longer be guaranteed automatic flying rights when it leaves the EU, unless a transitional deal is negotiated ahead of the deadline.
The topic of aviation was back in the spotlight after chancellor Philip Hammond said earlier this month that it was “theoretically conceivable that in a no deal scenario there will be no air traffic moving between the UK and the European Union” when Britain leaves the EU. “But I don’t think anybody seriously believes that is where we will get to,” he added.
Grayling echoed that opinion when speaking to the committee last week, telling them:
I am very confident that we will end up with an agreement with the European Union, but aviation does not have to have an open skies agreement in order to function.
If you had senior airline bosses like Willie Walsh and Carolyn McCall in front of you, they would say to you that they are not concerned that they will not be able to carry on flying post-2019.