A no-deal Brexit could have “disastrous consequences” for aviation including the grounding of many flights across European Union countries and the UK.

The warning is made in a letter from the European Regions Airlines Association to the European Commission urging it to take necessary measures in advance of the UK leaving the EU.

The association, which has 50 member airlines, highlights the need to prevent serious harm to European connectivity.

The ERA also warned of a “significant impact” on many other critical areas of aviation, such as air services agreements, aviation safety and security, border management and environment.

It wants a solution to be reached as soon as possible that will allow airlines to continue operating as they do today, “enabling Europeans to continue benefiting from affordable and stress-free travel”.

ERA director general Montserrat Barriga said: “Now is the time to definitively confirm a reciprocal comprehensive agreement that protects the established pillars of European aviation.

“ERA’s position on Brexit remains to ensure open and free traffic rights for all EU and UK carriers between the EU and the UK, that EASA regulations continue to apply to UK carriers and that the EU and UK carriers can continue to freely lease aircraft to each other.”

Association president Andrew Kelly added: “Even if there is a deal, there is a lack of clarity about EU ownership rules that could potentially ground big and small airlines alike, unless there is some form of moratorium.

“Yet, we get the sense from the politicians and officials that on the morning of March 30, the aviation industry will wake up and go to work as usual, even if there is a hard Brexit.

“It won’t, it can’t and the UK and EU need to wake up to that fact now, before it’s too late.”