Brexit Air Transport Agreements

206.Air services also enable wider economic growth in the United Kingdom. Brian Pearce, IATA Chief Economist, stated that people used air travel “as a means of doing a business, vacation or access to suppliers or markets” and that the air network was “essentially an infrastructure for the success of users such as the City of London” and “high-tech industries”282.282 We also note that air transport services are an important means for the transport of goods (facilitating thus trade in goods). “About 2.3 million tonnes of freight pass through UK airports each year, with 40% of the UK`s trade with economies outside the EU being transported by air in value terms. In 2014, the total value of tradable goods carried by UK airports exceeded $140 billion, with Heathrow being the largest port in the UK to be transported. 283 225.Mr Pearce stressed the increased importance of the open-ski agreement between the EU and the US to the UK economy: “We have, for example, many joint ventures on the North Atlantic running in London, so these open ski agreements are a precondition for these structures.” 319 The government, he argued, had to “protect the wider open sky [and] … Agreement with third countries,” and recommended “early discussions with the United States.” 320 The Air Transport Agreement, signed on behalf of the United States by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Transport Minister Elaine Chao, replaces the existing EU-US air transport agreement. The EU-US AGREEMENT was signed in 2007 and established a legal framework “to promote safe, affordable, cost-effective and competitive air transport” between the two blocs. The ECAA and horizontal agreements allow EU airlines to fly from the UK to 17 other non-ECAA countries, such as the US, Australia and New Zealand, with reduced restrictions. This has significantly increased the number of lines and carriers available to consumers. 237.The Government must also urgently clarify the UK`s post-Brexit position on countries with which the EU currently has an open skies agreement, including the United States. Otherwise, the government should quickly explore the potential for new bilateral air services agreements with major markets (such as the US) before the UK leaves the EU in 2019, or adopt a transitional regime.

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