Air Industry Chief: Travelers Can Expect ‘Total Chaos’ If No Agreement Happens In Europe
By Sharelle Burt
Another day, another reason to be concerned when traveling overseas.
There are new concerns about travel to Europe as Director General of the International Air Transportation Association, Alexandre de Juniac, thinks there will be “chaos” for air travel if a no-deal Brexit should occur.
The former CEO of AirFrance talked about Brexit and how issues regarding air travel to Europe can come about if the United Kingdom actually exits the deal. In that interview, de Juniac said that the IATA, “Predict[s] chaos if nothing is done.” The “nothing is done” refers to a “hard” or no-deal Brexit. “It will be a nightmare for airports and passengers and airlines,” adds de Juniac.
The UK has some time for negotiations. The United Kingdom is set to exit from Brexit on March 29, 2019. At 11 pm local time, the United Kingdom will no longer be a part of the European Union. They also will have to have a withdrawal agreement prepared on March 29th. If an agreement isn’t reached, one of two things can happen: an extension can be given or there will be a hard or no-deal Brexit, where the United Kingdom would be removed from the European Union and will have to negotiate with the EU on each issue over time. Hopefully, an agreement will be met because the second outcome would make air travel a catastrophic issue.
The union is what makes travel go so smoothly for passengers. Employees like flight attendants, engineers, and even security are part of the union. Without them, you can imagine the type of chaos that can go on in airports. De Juniac cited many uncertainties that would come in to play on March 29th following Brexit, including canceling many flights across Europe. Other operational aspects come into play of which passengers aren’t fully aware. “It will be difficult to know if pilot licenses are mutually recognized,” de Juniac told The Telegraph. Aviation safety and regulation is another major concern as the United Kingdom is a current member of the EASA, as well as every country in the European Union.
There is one positive outcome when talking about holiday travel. The European Union and all parties involved have the freedom to travel from one EU nation to another with almost no restrictions. This has allowed United Kingdom residents to take very affordable holidays to places like Spain, Italy, and Greece. Even though this is good news, De Juniac is still concerned about holiday goers in Spain when Brexit goes into effect. IATA expects that even in the best case scenario, dozens of daily flights between resort cities in Spain and cities in the UK will be disrupted. It could even take weeks before travel between countries like Spain and the UK would begin to normalize.
There is still a lot to figure out with Brexit. If there is a hard Brexit, it’s very likely air travel will be chaotic in the weeks following, but it an agreement is reached, it’s that disruption will be minimal.