Minister says "despite some reports to the contrary" Brexit aviation talks have been going well

Rebecca Smith
Baroness Sugg said a positive aviation deal was crucial for the UK and the EU
Baroness Sugg said a positive aviation deal was crucial for the UK and the EU (Source: Getty)

Aviation minister Baroness Sugg has rebuffed concern over the state of talks for airlines post-Brexit, saying discussions so far "have been positive" at an industry dinner.

"My officials and I are working with the third countries where air services are currently governed by EU agreements, to ensure that new, replacement arrangements are in place after we leave the EU," Sugg told the Airports Operators Association (AOA) annual dinner this week.

She said:

Despite some reports to the contrary, talks so far have been positive and we have made significant progress.

Read more: Fox urges Brexit negotiators to "keep the temperature down"

She added that it was "obviously a high priority" to provide reassurance for the industry, and as negotiations progress, the government will continue to work closely with them.

Sugg referenced the Prime Minister's ambition that the UK seek participation in the European Aviation Safety Agency, saying that would be welcome news for the industry.

"The fact it was part of the Prime Minister’s speech shows the importance of aviation and aerospace to our Brexit negotiations," Sugg said. "And how vital it is that we get a positive deal for the industry. A positive deal will be crucial for both the UK and the EU."

The aviation industry has been calling for clarity on flying rights for the UK's departure from the bloc, with question marks over what it will mean for Open Skies arrangement.

Last month, trade body the European Regions Airline Association provided guidance to airlines preparing for different Brexit scenarios, saying: "We are now 20 months post-referendum, and 11 months after the triggering of Article 50, with no visible developments for the aviation industry across the European region."

It has told airlines to consider questions such as what percentage of their networks are intra-European, whether any deals currently under discussion need to be re-evaluated, and what is the nationality and residency status of their employees.

The ERA said it was "paramount that aviation integrity remains intact, irrespective of the political tactics of decision makers".

Read more: Trade body offers airlines Brexit advice and contingency planning checklist

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