No Deal Brexit Could Make 5 Million Flight Tickets Invalid

We’ve consistently been assured that even in the event of a no deal Brexit, planes will still fly. However, due to a new report released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Simple Flying has learnt that millions of travel tickets may be voided. Only the current volume of flights is currently protected. With the huge growth in passenger numbers predicted for this summer, growth may now be capped. While this could lead to some tickets being cancelled, it could also potentially push flight prices up due to an increase in demand.

5 Million Tickets Cancelled

The huge problem with Brexit is its uncertainty. Despite there only being 66 days to go until the UK is set to leave the European Union, there is currently no plan in place. As such, people don’t know if Brexit will take place at all, let alone what it would entail. Ever optimistic Airlines have continued selling tickets for this post Brexit period. While they have been selling tickets for last years demand, the IATA estimates an additional 5 million extra seats are being sold for 2019 compared to 2018.

What happens after Brexit day in two months is currently anybody’s guess. Photo: British Airways

This is a problem as the current agreement in place with Brexit lies in the terms used. Britain and the European Union have only agreed to maintain the current level of air service. As such, this leaves no room for expansion which is needed as the aviation industry continues to grow. To cope with brexit, some airlines have been taking action. While EasyJet has been relocating aircraft to European registrations, IAG is trying to prove it is a Spanish Business.

Rising Ticket Costs

Should the worst happen, and these extra 5 million seats are cancelled, we could see tickets rise in cost. It’s not uncommon for ticket prices to increase, both as the flight gets nearer, and as the flight gets more booked. This is because Airlines know that people who must travel will often pay the amount. With 5 million cancelled seats, these passengers are going to look to travel on the flights that are running.

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Brexit Flag
With little time to prepare for Brexit, any deal made now could cause chaos for the aviation industry.

Let’s put that into perspective. Assuming every additional flight was a B737-800 with 184 seats, there are suddenly around 27,000 cancelled flights. While passengers who had flights cancelled would be entitled to a refund, they would be alone in trying to find replacement flights.

Uncertainty Remains

In a press release obtained by Simple Flying Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO said: “That current flight levels will be protected even with a hard Brexit is an important assurance. But with two months left until Britain leaves the EU, airlines still do not know exactly what kind of Brexit they should be planning for. And there is legal and commercial uncertainty over how the Commission’s plan to cap flight numbers will work.”

Ryanair B737 Takeoff
As an Irish airline with their main hub in England, Ryanair has been preparing for Brexit. Photo: Ryanair

He went on to add: “In the small window remaining before Brexit, it is imperative that the EU and UK prioritize finding a solution that brings certainty to airlines planning growth to meet demand and to travellers planning business trips and family holidays.”

Simple Flying contacted British Airways for comment on the story and asked how they reacted to the news in addition to what passengers should think. An IAG spokesperson told us BA will continue to fly all its customers to their destinations and operate a normal schedule, including to new routes.”

What effect do you think Brexit will have on the Aviation industry? Let us know in the comments down below!

2 comments
  1. When the year was to change too 20.000 every one was fearful of what might happen, yet everything continued as normal. Brexit will be just the same, it will all smooth out and the UK will be a world player as usual.

    1. Except we had a plan for the 2000 change. We as a world spent a considerable amount of time, money, and resources fixing the issue. There is NO plan here.

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