The UK’s airports are feeling the pinch as ongoing Brexit uncertainty continues to bite.
As another week of political impasse occurred, Routes Europe delegates in Hannover taking part in a panel debate spoke of how it is affecting them on the ground.
Stansted Airport chief commercial officer Aboudy Nasser said real wages are at their lowest since 2008 while household expenditure is exceeding income for the first time.
He added: “People just don’t have the money to spend on travel.”
Nor is the inbound marker filling the gap. Cornwall Airport Newquay managing director Al Titterington, whose own growth forecasts have been cut from 10-15% to 5%, said the fall in the pound had not boosted visitor numbers.
He added: “International demand is soft, the German market is actually shrinking as Europeans don’t feel welcome in the UK.”
Titterington added the impact is further felt as Europeans visiting the region spend twice as much as UK travellers.
He said the airport had also lost routes because of the situation, adding: “Airlines tell us that Europe is more profitable.”
Even when they do stay, it comes at a cost, Titterington said, adding: “Airlines are asking for renegotiations of terms because of Brexit.”
Meanwhile, Norwegian head of international government and industry relations John Hanlon said in order to provide stability for future planning, there needs to be a comprehensive air transport agreement implemented as soon as possible between the UK and the EU outside of a trade deal.
He added: “It is wrong that it [the aviation market] should be a political lever at this stage.”
Meanwhile, Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade expressed concern that last summer could be repeated when overseas arrivals faced queues of up to two-and-a-half hours if border guards are moved to the UK’s ports in the event of a sudden no-deal departure.
He added: “If it is difficult to come to the country, people will take their business elsewhere.”