Politics

BA boss RUBBISHES flight chaos fears in Brexit ‘No Deal’: ‘We will adapt – we always do’

BA boss Willie Walsh.

BA boss Willie Walsh said planes would continue to fly

Doomsayers, including Chancellor Philip Hammond, had said planes could be grounded on the first day Britain leaves the union with the aviation industry thrown into chaos.

But at a Commons Transport Committee, UK airlines bosses said they had no concerns and stressed a comprehensive aviation agreement with the EU would be simple despite Brexit.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA owner IAG, said, even if no deal was reached with the EU it would be possible to form an agreement on air transport.

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Mr Walsh said: “These issues face the industry already today, I don’t think they’re complex.”

“We will adapt. We’ve had to do it before.”

He added: "The prospect of there being no flying between the UK and Europe, I don't agree with at all.

"This would bring all of Europe to a standstill.”

Mr Walsh told the committee that he had no concerns about flying rights between Britain and the United States, adding that "one second" after Britain leaves the EU there will be an Open Skies treaty with America.

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And Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said it was in everyone’s interests to make sure the skies were still busy.

He told the committee: “From an EU point of view, it’s just as much in their interests to have continuity after Brexit as it is for us.”

He said: “I can’t think of any European nation that doesn't benefit from having the open aviation market we currently have.”

Mr Walsh said, ideally, the aviation industry would have clarity around a future agreement six months before the UK leaves.

And he said airlines wanted certainty as soon as possible over whether the UK would still be regulated by the European Aviation Safety Agency or a new, similar body.

Willie Walsh.

Willie Walsh was relaxed about no Brexit deal

But he said BA was very relaxed abut timescales, so much so, that they had not even been discussed with Brexit Secretary David Davis.

And the airlines said they were totally confident that would continue to sell tickets, saying there had been no downturn in sales despite uncertainty created by the Brexit vote.

They also claimed there had been no fall in investment since the referendum result was announced.

EasyJet chief exec Sophie Dekkers said: “The last thing people are going to give up is their summer holiday.

“We wouldn't foresee there being any change post 2019.”

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