Blog: EU-UK flights could be grounded after Brexit transition – POLITICO.eu

Flights could be grounded between the EU and the U.K. unless the two sides strike a deal before the end of the Brexit transition period, U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Wednesday.

Shapps told a virtual tourism conference that the government is still negotiating with the EU to make sure flights continue to operate after January 1.

“We’re seeking arrangements that will maintain connectivity,” he said. “We expect the EU to bring forward contingency measures, as they’ve done before, to ensure flights will continue if negotiations are unsuccessful. Of course, we would look to reciprocate that.”

He said that both sides are in “broad agreement” that aviation and road operators should be able to continue to provide services, but that the U.K. wants to agree on some “sensible additional flexibilities.”

“Negotiations as you know have intensified in recent weeks, and although time’s now tight, we remain hopeful that an agreement can be achieved. It’s critical that flights between the U.K. and the EU can continue to operate as normal at the end of the transition period, regardless of the outcome of these negotiations.”

Earlier on Wednesday another transport minister told a U.K. parliamentary committee it would be “an act of monumental self-harm” if airplanes were grounded.

“It would not be a sensible, rational, pragmatic approach for any EU member state to deliberately stop what little air travel there currently is,” said Rachel Maclean, under secretary of state at the Department for Transport.

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