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EU warns British airlines on post-Brexit flying

Britons feeling the pinch as real wages fall: expert

LONDON: A protester holds European Union flags as he demonstrates outside the Houses of Parliament, in central London yesterday.—AFP

BRUSSELS: British airlines will lose all flying rights the European Union has negotiated with third countries as well as those negotiated by individual EU states after Britain quits the bloc, the EU executive said in a note. In a notice to all airlines, a stark reminder of the risks facing the sector if there is no Brexit deal, the European Commission said UK air carriers would no longer enjoy traffic rights under any air transport agreement to which the EU is a party, such as the US-EU Open Skies agreement.

They would also lose flying rights under agreements between individual EU member states and third countries as they would no longer be considered EU airlines.

In addition, all operating licenses granted by the British civil aviation authority will no longer be valid for the EU, the notice said, which means the airlines would be cut off from the intra-EU market.

“In order to continue benefiting from the freedoms of establishment and to provide air services within the EU internal market as of the withdrawal date, air carriers are advised to consider any measure required to ensure that the conditions for holding an EU operating license are complied with in all circumstances,” the notice said. Airlines based in the EU have the right to fly to, from and within any country in the bloc thanks to the single aviation market was created in the 1990s, but Britain now has less than two years to renegotiate access or come up with an alternative system.

British carriers include easyJet, IAG’s British Airways, Flybe, Jet2 and Virgin Atlantic. Budget airline easyJet has already moved to establish a new airline in Austria to protect its flying rights within the EU once Britain leaves the bloc.
Both airlines and airports have been vocal about the risks posed by the no-deal scenario and have urged London and Brussels to quickly provide certainty for the industry.

Airport operators’ association Airports Council International has pointed out that more than one in every two passengers handled by UK airports is flying to or from the rest of the EU, making the British market heavily dependent on the EU.

Without a deal airlines would have to rely on a decades-old traffic rights accord between the UK and EU states. These are typically more restrictive and many observers have doubts as to their validity. Britain and the EU clinched a divorce deal last Friday, paving the way for them to start talks on future trade ties and a two-year Brexit transition period that will start when Britain leaves the EU on March 29, 2019.

However, Brussels has ruled out a separate deal just for aviation on the grounds that it would be tantamount to cherry-picking. A Commission spokesman said the notice did not cover the situation of UK traffic rights to and from EU member states that “will be determined in due course”.

Young Britons
Meanwhile, stagnant wages and Brexit-spiked inflation are hitting young Britons hard, an expert who resigned in protest from a government body last month told AFP as new data showed the country was feeling the pinch.

Workers’ average weekly earnings adjusted for inflation fell 0.4 percent year-on-year from August to October 2017 — an erosion of purchasing power. “The impact of falling real wages is that young people are staying longer in their family home, delaying childbirth and renting rather than buying housing,” Paul Gregg, head of the University of Bath’s social policy research unit, told AFP.

Gregg resigned from the National Social Mobility Commission last month along with its leader Alan Milburn and two others, citing a lack of government action to improve the living standards of the poorest. “For the first time there’s generations coming through that haven’t got higher living standards than the previous generation and in terms of home ownership are way behind,” he said.

The Social Mobility Commission last month released a report highlighting the “coldspots” around Britain where children from disadvantaged backgrounds are least likely to do well in future life.

“Coldspots have lower wages because of the general absence of larger firms and reliance on lower wage industries such as tourism, retail, hospitality.”

Many of them also suffer from poor transport links and education and low occupational mobility. All 30 of the worst zones for social mobility in the UK voted in favour of Brexit in last year’s referendum, and many of them also suffer from poor transport links and education provision.

Gregg said the government should focus investment on these areas, by developing “transport connections, access to high speed internet and a regional development strategy that addresses remote areas not just cities.” – Agencies

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