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Pilots urge Prime Minister to act swiftly to secure future of aviation

UK pilots say now the election is over politicians must turn their attention to urgent decisions on issues which effect UK aviation.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association is looking forward to continuing to work with Transport Minister, Chris Grayling on issues including Brexit, much needed airport expansion and drone policy.

BALPA is warning that the aviation industry and the whole UK economy could suffer as a result of a poorly-planned Brexit strategy if the Government doesn’t start to make some speedy decisions. By the very nature of travel, flights can go on sale more than one year before travel, leaving a narrow window before we officially leave the EU. If passengers aren’t sure what restrictions will be in place when they travel it could dent consumer confidence and prevent people making bookings.

How airlines continue to connect passengers with EU countries without them needing to shift operations outside of the UK has not yet been made clear. If the uncertainty continues, BALPA warns that British airlines might seek to set up bases within the EU and therefore the UK market could lose significant value. Virgin Atlantic has already revealed a significant loss in profits due to the falling pound as a result of Brexit uncertainty.

Pilots also say the UK has waited long enough for a decision on much needed airport expansion. BALPA is urging the government to act swiftly to ensure UK aviation can grow and does not lose custom to other big European hub airports like Paris and Amsterdam.

Pilots also want reassurance that the government is taking the issue of drones seriously and is taking steps to put in place legislation to prevent a serious collision.

BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said:

“Now the political wrangling is over it’s time to knuckle down and make some decisions. Airlines are at the coalface of changes to EU trade and movement so aviation should be at the top of the Government’s agenda.

“If swift decisions are not made about Brexit and airport expansion, we could see a serious knock-on effect as airlines, and in turn, consumers lose confidence in the UK market. We could see domestic passengers uncertain about booking and connecting passengers choosing to fly to other European hubs instead.

“BALPA is ready to continue its dialogue with Transport Minister, Chris Grayling on these issues. We are also keen to address the outstanding matter of the risk of drones hitting aircraft, that we hope he can turn his attention to as soon as possible.

“The aviation industry is worth £52 billion to the UK economy and the government must do all it can now to ensure jobs and flight safety are not put at risk.”