Brexit and British Aviation: Update

July 1, 2016 in News for Candidates, News for Clients

Brexit and British Aviation: Update


Last week, we compiled a special report on how the EU referendum outcome could impact on the UK aviation industry.

These were our key findings and concerns:

  • UK nationals conduct 4x more outbound visits to the EU than inbound visits from other EU countries
  • The UK may no longer be part of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), raising questions about interoperability, security and airline appeal
  • An end to the free movement of people could increase bureaucracy and make the industry less appealing for air crews
  • The UK’s EU membership has correlated with a period of long-term aviation growth, which might now be challenged

A week is a long time in politics…

Since the referendum result was called in favour of the Leave camp by a margin of 51.9% – 48.1%, the entire political landscape has changed:

  • David Cameron immediately pledged to resign his post as Prime Minister
  • The pound fell to its lowest level in over 30 years
  • Disagreements have disrupted the European Parliament, and the most senior UK official has resigned

MEPs from the continent have already stated that the UK will not be allowed to cherry-pick the terms of the final agreement. With a leadership contest due to commence to determine the next Prime Minister of the UK, we can only hope at this stage that the aspects of the union most crucial to the aviation industry will be protected in the negotiations.

Brexit aviation news roundup

The full extent of the implications of Brexit might not be known for years, if not decades to come.

But, here’s what we know so far:

  • A final decision on a third runway at Heathrow has again been postponed, with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin expressing a hope that consensus might be reached in the autumn, once a new Prime Minister has been installed.
  • Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Airports Commission, commented: “Brexit is being seen as an insular sign, a nation turning in on itself”, citing London’s airport expansion as “a touchstone” for future national growth and development.
  • Stocks in British airlines dropped significantly on confirmation of the result, with some falling by over 20%. EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall wrote subsequently to the government to request that the UK remains part of the European Common Aviation Area.
  • IAG have reduced profit forecasts from the 70% leap posted in 2015 (although ownership of Spanish carriers Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus should shield them somewhat), while EasyJet have stated that the economic effects of this decision on consumer behaviour could start as early as this summer.
  • IATA have released a statement that weighs up the potential impact of Brexit, citing the popularity of air travel and the UK as an aviation hub as potential reasons for a favourable agreement to be reached with the EU.

Our industry has entered unchartered territory, and maintaining stability will be crucial in the times ahead. Having a trusted recruitment partner can give you the agility to react quickly and meet market demand, helping you access highly-skilled temporary aviation staff when you need them most. Find out how AeroProfessional can give your business the staffing flexibility to make responsive decisions even in the most turbulent of times.


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