IRELAND South MEP and member of the EU Transport committee Deirdre Clune has said Brexit may impact on flights between Cork and the UK as there will be no aviation agreements in place post-Brexit to allow for these flights.
She has called on the EU Commission to act now and start the process of allowing Britain access to the European Common Aviation Area, so that flights between Ireland and the UK are not unduly impacted when Brexit happens and that we have immediate certainty in both our aviation and tourism markets.
Clune said that flights between Cork and the UK were critical for Cork Airport’s success, with five of the top ten destination airports for Cork located in the UK.
Clune also cited the importance of the tourism market to counties like Cork. ‘British tourists spent €191.3m in the South West in 2015 according to Bord Failte. Every €1m of tourist expenditure helps to support 29 tourism jobs. 1,000 additional tourists support 14 jobs in our tourism industry. We must start planning for Brexit now.’
She also pointed out that we would need a new aviation agreement with the UK post-Brexit to provide clarity and a regulatory framework for flights between Ireland and the UK.
‘The creation of a single aviation market in the 1990s allowed EU airlines unlimited access to the skies of fellow member states, doubling traffic growth in the four years after liberalisation. Brexit will change this dynamic as the UK will no longer be a member state. One solution would be to allow Britain access to the European Common Aviation Area, which comprises all EU member states, plus some non-EU states including Norway, Iceland and Albania. Otherwise we will have to negotiate bilateral deals between the UK and the EU as a whole, as Switzerland has done,’ Ms Clune added.
‘Unless we have clarity, airlines are unlikely to expand their flights between Ireland and the UK,’ she warned.