The UK needs to sort out its post-Brexit flying rights to maintain consumer and business confidence, the head of Iata has warned.
Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s director general and chief executive, said the temporary deal negotiated between the EU and UK to ensure flights continue following Brexit was not enough. He called aviation “the Business of Freedom”.
“The Brexit deadline has come and gone with no separation agreement, but with vital air connectivity between the UK and the Continent maintained for the present,” he said, but warned: “Temporary measures, however, are no substitute for a comprehensive Brexit package that will ensure that the Business of Freedom is able to play its vital role in contributing to the well-being of the region – and the world.”
Despite his words, Iata figures for February – a month before the original Brexit deadline – showed solid demand in Europe, which out-performed other regions for the fifth consecutive month. Passenger demand increased 7.6% year-on-year, unchanged from January.
Iata said: “Europe’s continuing strong performance provides a paradox given Brexit concerns and signs of a softer economic outlook.” Capacity in Europe rose 8%, but load factors slid only 0.3 percentage points to 82.3%, the highest among all Iata regions.
Worldwide, passenger traffic in February 2019 rose 5.3%, compared to February 2018. This was the slowest rate of growth in more than a year but “still in line with long-term demand trends”, Iata said.