Last week, I attended a media day at London Oxford Airport. Located 65km from the capital, on-site helicopters can fly passengers to London in around 22 minutes.
It boasts to be the sixth busiest airport for business aviation within the UK’s mainland totalling 8,000 business aviation passengers per year.
Ninety-five per cent of the airport’s traffic is to EU destinations of which 40% is domestic in accordance with WINGX Advance. Current popular EU destinations include: Paris, Milan and Dublin among others.
One of the interesting topics raised during the day was the possibility of the UK leaving the European Union when the electorate take to the polls on Thursday 23 June.
The EU referendum will allow people to place a cross whether they wish the UK to remain in the European Union or to leave.
The question is: Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
The Twittersphere and media have coined the withdrawal as Brexit, and the government is of the stance that the UK should remain within the EU.
Interestingly, one of the key seven points being promoted by the government’s ‘Stay-in’ campaign states in relation to aviation that: ‘The EU has made it easier and cheaper for us to travel around Europe. EU reforms in the 1990s resulted in a drop in fares of over 40% for lower cost flights.’
A populist appeal but an issue with real monetary value for the likes of the voting public. However, what is the aviation industry stipulating with regards to the potential effect of leaving the EU?
In general the consensus, though said ever so quietly, is for a wish to remain (if not, please do reply).
Perhaps the reason there is not much volume on Brexit is because there’s a gut feeling it might not happen, provocatively-speaking of course. This is not a call to arms, however, a more evident narrative on the industry’s response to the possibility of Brexit is needed.
It was only last month that Boeing choose London as its new European headquarters.
The reason the disruption of current red tape legislation could interrupt processes and leave a very perplexed industry in only a couple of months.
The sector is still feeling the effects of the reduction in oil price, which surely would be impacted further if the UK left with an anticipated fall in confidence in its currency.
As the government comments: ‘The resulting economic shock would put pressure on the value of the pound, which would risk higher prices for some household goods and damage living standards.’
CAPA, the Centre for Aviation in January this year published a report titled, ‘Brexit up in the air: implications for aviation if the UK votes to leave the European Union.’
One of the report’s headlines was that ‘the EU has a liberalised aviation market’; which is in relation to the low cost travel argument which allows airline operators within member states to function across the Union ‘without restrictions on capacity, frequency, or pricing,’ the report commented.
Membership of the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) is not something guaranteed to the UK if it does depart from the EU.
The ECAA is a multilateral agreement which ‘creates an open framework accessible for European countries which wish to fully integrate into the European aviation family and to fit into the Neighbourhood Policy of the EU. The objective is to integrate the EU’s neighbours in South-East Europe and the internal aviation market which consists of EU member states as well as Norway and Iceland.’
Moreover, another area looked at by the report is the fact that the UK even if not an EU member state it is still likely to have to comply with EU aviation law. However, it would probably be restricted in its authority over the creation of new legislation and amendments to existing laws.
An interesting point, James Dillon-Godfray, head of business development at London Oxford Airport raised was the notion that the London property market could suffer which would majorly influence London business aviation.
With less than two months to go until polling day, the industry’s stance on remaining or staying needs to be more present; as one of the fundamental industries for jobs and trade, travel and living standards it could dictate the outcome: whether it’s take-off or stationary.