The EU’s current unity in Brexit negotiations is likely to split the nearer it comes to deal-making time.
That was the view of Airlines for America president and chief executive Nicholas Calio, speaking at the AOA conference. He said one of the EU’s great strengths has been the fact that the other 27 members have spoken as one in dealing with the UK.
However, he believes that as the Brexit deadline approaches, countries will break ranks as they increasingly realise the deal being struck might not be best for them.
He said one example of this would be Spain, where any threat to UK aviation would be hugely unwelcome as the country receives 12 million British visitors each year.
Calio said: “One of the advantages the EU has is the EU 27 have remained remarkably unified. I think that will look different the closer you get to the break.”
He added that some EU countries are already believed to be secretly trying to use Brexit to further their own interests and attempt to replace the UK as Europe’s biggest US market.
Calio said: “The problem is now US carriers have a huge investment in infrastructure in the UK and we’ll fly where demand dictates, and much of that demand is in the UK.
“In the EU, a lot of airports can’t handle the 140 flights [per day, which the UK does]. They’re too full… and the slots aren’t there.”