In anticipation of a post-Brexit world, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging the UK government to shore-up its international air connectivity by focusing on a cost-effective expansion of Heathrow Airport and achieving early clarity on post-Brexit issues.
While much attention has been paid to air service agreements, IATA urged action across a broad spectrum of issues including:
- Finding staffing, systems and process solutions for a potential ballooning of customs transactions from 4.6 million/month to 21 million/month.
- Developing immigration solutions to efficiently deal with the millions of travelers between the UK and Europe should border control procedures become more cumbersome.
- Defining the relationship of the UK to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
"In building the post-Brexit world, the prosperity of the UK will depend on the strength of its connectivity—links with Europe and the rest of the world," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, in an address to the UK Aviation Club.
IATA also urged the UK government to address severe capacity constraints in the Southeast of the UK by expanding Heathrow airport.
"Heathrow is where expansion should take place. I know the struggle to build a third runway has meant decades of frustration. But the UK will be left behind in the globally connected world if it does not come to a final decision and implement it," said de Juniac.
"Time is precious. The Brexit clock is ticking towards a deadline of March 2019. But the aviation deadline is earlier. Normally passengers can book travel about a year in advance. At a minimum, the flight schedules and seat and cargo inventories must be available at least six months in advance. So that puts the airlines’ deadline at October 2018—just 11 months from now," said de Juniac.
The full text of de Juniac’s address is available on the IATA website.