The UK’s triggering of Article 50 on 29 March 2017 means that it will officially cease to be a member of the European Union on 30 March 2019. As this deadline approaches rapidly, there are a multitude of issues to be resolved and legislative tangles to be unscrambled. One such problem area that has received limited media coverage – relative to the Customs Union and the Single Market in general, at least – is that of air traffic rights.
Currently, the UK is the beneficiary of the European Single Sky, the European Common Aviation Area Agreement and numerous Comprehensive Air Transport Agreements and Horizontal Air Transport Agreements that the EU has entered into with other countries around the world. As it stands, leaving the EU means the UK will lose the benefit of and the traffic rights under these agreements.
It is, therefore, essential that the UK, the EU and various other countries around the world agree new bilateral Air Service Agreements post-withdrawal or – insofar as the UK and the EU are concerned – factor any air traffic rights into any Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement.
In the recent article “International Air Traffic After Brexit”, Jens Rinze looks at what the “EU Open Sky” is and how other Comprehensive and Horizontal Air Transport Agreements that the EU has entered into with various other countries around the world are relevant, explains how this and future flights from the US, Australia and Asia Pacific are to be affected by Brexit and considers some of the options that the UK and the EU (and other countries) may need to take to avoid major disruptions to air traffic.