British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz has dismissed concerns about the impact of Brexit on flying rights saying “We’ll have no problem”.
Speaking at a BA investment event on Wednesday, Cruz said: “We’re not discouraged. The complexity of the Brexit process is large. But we’ll go through all the regulatory hurdles to ensure BA can go on flying all over the world.
“I’m sure we’ll have no problem from a flying rights perspective.”
UK Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the Brexit process last week, setting a date for Britain’s departure from the EU of the end of March 2019.
Ryanair has urged the government to provide clarity on flying rights in time for airlines to finalise their 2019 summer schedule next year.
The budget carrier has warned that Britain could be left “without flights” to the EU unless there is certainty on flying rights.
Asked how much notice BA would need of changes to UK-EU flying rights and associated rights to the US and Canada, Cruz said: “We speak in IATA seasons [of summer and winter schedules]. And we plan two to three seasons in advance.
“But we don’t have a position [on this]. We have made the government aware of what we require.”
The UK Airport Operators Association (AOA) and public affairs association Airlines UK also appeared confident of an agreement.
However, they emphasised the need for clarity by next year.
The AOA said: “We share the government’s confidence that new arrangements on air traffic rights with the EU and countries like the US and Canada can be secured.”
AOA chief executive Karen Dee welcomed the British prime minister’s “strong emphasis on giving business, including aviation, as much certainty as possible” and said: “The disappearance of the legal framework for around 86% of the UK’s air traffic would be very disruptive for both sides.”
However, she said: “Airlines and tour operators will be confirming their 2019 flight schedules 12-18 months in advance, underlining the need for clarity.”
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK which represents British Airways, easyJet and other UK carriers, agreed.
He said: “We look forward to the EU and UK reaching an agreement as soon as possible that allows consumers and businesses to continue to travel just as they do today.”
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