The Secretary of State chaired the meeting alongside Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad, to hear the views of industry leaders on the forthcoming Brexit negotiations and talk about the opportunities Britain’s decision to leave the EU could bring to the sector.
Aviation is crucial to the UK’s economy - contributing around £20 billion in 2014 alone. The UK has the largest aviation network in Europe and the third largest in the world, handling over 250 million passengers and 2.3 million tonnes of cargo last year. The government is determined to continue investment in the industry and to secure the best possible deal for UK aviation. Today’s roundtable gave Ministers an opportunity to listen to the sector and get their views on the priority issues and opportunities following the public vote to leave the EU.
Issues discussed ranged from market access and new opportunities for further liberalisation to aviation safety and security. These insights will help ensure that all views are reflected in the forensic analysis being undertaken by the government on the options for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Board-level executives from the following organisations were present at the roundtable:
- Airlines UK
- Airport Coordination Limited
- Airport Operators Association
- Civil Aviation Authority
- Heathrow Airport Limited
- International Airlines Group/British Airways
- London City Airport
- Manchester Airport Group
- National Air Traffic Services
- Virgin Atlantic
Following the meeting, a joint statement was issued from the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, the Secretary of State for Transport, and the Chief Executive of Airlines UK:
Aviation is absolutely crucial to the UK’s economy and building a global Britain that seizes the opportunities exiting the EU presents.
As an island nation with global reach, we have the largest aviation network in Europe and the third largest in the world, handling over 250 million passengers and 2.3 million tonnes of cargo last year. The UK has direct connections to over 370 international destinations, more than any other EU country.
We will work closely together to ensure that this international industry continues to be a major success story for the UK economy - contributing around £20 billion in 2014 alone - and better understand what risks and opportunities exist. We also share a determination to give as much early certainty to the sector as possible, given the long lead in times associated with developing new routes - and to supporting the sector as much as possible in the interim.
Market access remains a top priority, and we want to make sure we have liberal access to European aviation markets. We will also work closely to explore new opportunities for further liberalisation. We are clear that Brexit provides greater freedom to seek new agreements between the UK and some third countries. This includes looking at possible bilateral agreements to strengthen economic and cultural ties even further with countries such as the US and Canada.
Other areas of critical importance to address during negotiations include aviation safety, security, air traffic management, passenger rights, customs, and the environment. We will continue to engage with the industry on these issues throughout.
We also share a determination to continue investment in the industry and to secure the best possible deal for UK aviation.
We want to work together to build on all this with a common aim to ensure that the industry - and therefore the country - remains prosperous and open for business.