The government has pledged to co-operate with the aviation industry over Brexit negotiations.
The message followed a round table meeting between industry leaders and exiting the European Union secretary David Davis alongside aviation minister Lord Ahmad.
Discussions ranged from market access and new opportunities for further liberalisation to aviation safety and security.
These insights will help ensure that all views are reflected in the “forensic analysis” being undertaken by the government on the options for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the Department for Transport said.
The meeting at London City airport included board-level representatives from airlines such as British Airways owner International Airlines Group, easyJet, Virgin Atlantic, Ryanair and Monarch.
Trade bodies Airlines UK and the Airport Operators Association also attended alongside leading airport representatives and the Civil Aviation Authority.
A joint statement from Davis, transport secretary Chris Grayling and Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade, issued after the meeting, said: “Aviation is absolutely crucial to the UK’s economy and building a global Britain that seizes the opportunities exiting the EU presents.
“As an island nation with global reach, we have the largest aviation network in Europe and the third largest in the world, handling over 250 million passengers and 2.3 million tonnes of cargo last year. The UK has direct connections to over 370 international destinations, more than any other EU country.
“We will work closely together to ensure that this international industry continues to be a major success story for the UK economy – contributing around £20 billion in 2014 alone – and better understand what risks and opportunities exist.
“We also share a determination to give as much early certainty to the sector as possible, given the long lead in times associated with developing new routes – and to supporting the sector as much as possible in the interim.
“Market access remains a top priority, and we want to make sure we have liberal access to European aviation markets. We will also work closely to explore new opportunities for further liberalisation.
“We are clear that Brexit provides greater freedom to seek new agreements between the UK and some third countries. This includes looking at possible bilateral agreements to strengthen economic and cultural ties even further with countries such as the US and Canada.
“Other areas of critical importance to address during negotiations include aviation safety, security, air traffic management, passenger rights, customs, and the environment. We will continue to engage with the industry on these issues throughout.
“We also share a determination to continue investment in the industry and to secure the best possible deal for UK aviation.
“We want to work together to build on all this with a common aim to ensure that the industry – and therefore the country – remains prosperous and open for business.”
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