UK airlines will continue flights into the EU through to 24 October 2020 the European Commission decided on Wednesday, extending its previous March 2020 deadline to facilitate travel in the case of a no-deal Brexit.
“With eight weeks to go until the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 October 2019, the Commission has [today] – in its 6th Brexit preparedness Communication – reiterated its call on all stakeholders in the EU27 to prepare for a ‘no-deal’ scenario,” said the Commission in a statement.
“In light of the continued uncertainty in the United Kingdom regarding the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement – as agreed with the UK government in November 2018 – and the overall domestic political situation, a ‘no-deal’ scenario on 1 November 2019, remains a possible, although undesirable, outcome.”
The Association of British Travel Agents’ (ABTA) welcomed the extension, noting that “at least” consumers could confidently book “further in advance” until at least October 24 knowing that next summer’s flight schedules are unlikely to be affected by a no-deal Brexit.
“ABTA has been pushing hard for this extension, which is to the mutual benefit of UK customers and the EU, and we are encouraged that the European Commission has responded by extending the deadline,” said ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer.
“This legislation was originally passed as a contingency measure in the event of a no-deal scenario; an extension until at least October 2020 will give customers much needed confidence in making their travel plans,” Tanzer added.
With its ‘no-deal’ preparedness announcement and in efforts to minimize disruption, the Commission is calling on all EU citizens and businesses to prepare for the UK’s withdrawal on 31 October 2019.
The Commission has also proposed to the European Parliament and the Council to proceed with “targeted technical adjustments” to the duration of the EU’s ‘no-deal’ measures with regard to transport.
These measures, the Commission said, will also apply for the year 2020 to the fisheries sector and to the UK’s potential participation in the EU budget for 2020.
Meanwhile, in the case of a no-deal scenario, and for the period immediately after, the Commission has set up a call center for member state administrations providing expert guidance. EU citizens can contact Europe Direct 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 from anywhere in the EU, in any official EU language.
In Greece, earlier this week, Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis and Alternate Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis discussed measures that include simplifying entrance procedures at Greek airports for British holidaymakers in efforts to facilitate travel post Brexit.