What a no-deal Brexit could mean for British air travel and tourists
Prepare yourself if you are a British passport holder (including those who hold passports from Gibraltar and Crown Dependencies) traveling to countries in the Schengen zone of free movement. If your key is older than nine years and six months at the time of travel, you will need to renew it (at the current price of PS75.50). Otherwise, entry may be denied.
From October 2019, UK passports will change from burgundy to blue. Nostalgia may be appealing to some, but this move is short-sighted and could result in longer queues for UK travellers at passport control, customs and security. It is likely that EU citizens who wish to enter Britain will face the same situation.
While the UK is currently able to operate any route within the EU at this time, government guidance regarding a “No-Deal” Brexit in regards to air travel suggests a potentially worrying future scenario. The UK may experience major flight disruptions without a deal until UK-licensed, and EU-licensed airlines negotiate hundreds of new air service agreements in a revised regulatory environment. The UK might be able arrange what is called a “bare-bones” air service agreement, but EU countries may decide to not grant permissions that would effectively ground flights from the UK to the EU.
In the event of no-deal, EU licensed airlines would need to obtain two types of permissions to fly into the UK: A Foreign Carrier Permit as well as safety authorisations from the UK Civil Aviation Authority. In the same way, UK-licensed carriers would also need permission from all national authorities and explicit safety authorization from European Aviation Safety Agency. Brexit could also affect travel to non-EU countries. EU – US Open Skies agreement in 2007, for example, allows US and UK carriers access to each others’ markets. This trans-Atlantic deal would need to be renegotiated. EU-licensed carriers with UK ownership will also have to rethink how they negotiate licences. EU airlines need to be controlled and owned by EU citizens in order to qualify for a licence.
All these problems will increase the cost of airfares.
Passengers can rest assured that air navigation services are still subject to international obligations outlined in the Chicago Convention as well as the 1944 International Air Services Transit Agreement. Air travel will remain safe. The question is whether it will even take off in the aftermath of a Brexit without a deal.
Driving permits for international drivers
You might consider driving to the EU if you manage to get in. It will be more difficult in the case of a no-deal Brexit. After March 2019, UK licence might not be enough to drive within the EU. British drivers without a deal will require International Driving Permits to drive or hire a vehicle.
According to the National Audit Office, if there is no Brexit agreement reached in 2019, between 100,000 and seven million IDPs will be required. There are two types of IDPs within the EU. A driver will need both IDPs if they travel through France to Spain. IDPs cost PS5.50.
Tuscan holidays could be more expensive. K.Claire/Shutterstock
You might want to make a call when you’re abroad. This could also cost you more, as a no-deal scenario may affect mobile data and phone roaming. Since June 2017, Britons living abroad enjoy the “Roam Like at Home” agreement, secured by EU legislation. This means roaming in the EU is free. In a scenario where there is no deal, EU mobile operators will be able to charge UK operators. Surcharge-free roaming won’t be guaranteed . Your mobile operator will determine the cost. The future tariff agreements negotiated by UK’s largest phone providers will likely be inconsistent.
Tourism and its impact
The British tourism industry experienced record tourism figures in the months following the EU referendum of 2016. This was partly due to a weaker pound, which made the UK a more attractive destination for tourists. By March 2018, foreign visitors had spent PS24.6 billion, 6% more than the previous year.
Exchange rates have made holidays more expensive for UK residents traveling to the EU. A “no-deal” is likely to trigger another currency collapse, making travel to EU countries even more costly. Britons may also have to pay for emergency medical care if the European Health Insurance is lost if there’s a no-deal.
No-deal is likely also to have a negative economic impact on many EU nations. Three-quarters (75%) of Briton’s overseas trips are to the EU. The Association of British Travel Agents conducted a study that found UK tourists worth EUR37.4 Billion to EU member countries each year. Spain was the most popular destination in 2017, with 19 million Britons visiting. France came in second.
This means that an “no-deal” Brexit would have far-reaching, and potentially costly implications for travel and tourism. We may learn more about these issues over time. However, British tourists may need to think more of “staycations,” as traveling to Europe could become more costly, confusing, and complex.