Travel operators in the UK are sprinting to reassure holidaymakers that travel will continue as usual after the Brexit deadline, which was finalized last week in Brussels.
The presidents of the European Council and European Commission, Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen signed the Brexit agreement on Friday, giving the UK the official ‘OK’ to depart from the European Union at midnight on Friday, January 31.
In turn, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed the deal, and after that the EU named Portuguese diplomat Joao Vale de Almeida as the “first head of the future EU delegation”. Vale de Almeida, set to step in on February 1, will be the first post-Brexit envoy in London.
“As of that date, the United Kingdom will be a third country and as a consequence, the representation of the Union will be ensured by an EU delegation,” said EU’s diplomatic service.
Meanwhile, according to British daily Evening Standard, Mark Tanzer, Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) chief executive, reasserted that travel will continue as usual with the agreed transition period operating as a buffer so that no changes to travel occur after Friday.
“Because the UK is set to have a deal with the EU when it comes to travel, everything will remain the same after January 31 so people can continue to travel as normal,” Tanzer said.
British media however, were quick to report on Monday, that flights between the UK and Europe may very well be grounded if an aviation agreement is not inked before the end of the year.
Evening Standard reported that a spokesman for Airlines UK, representing UK-based carriers, said inbound and outbound flights would continue as normal during the transition period, noting however that a standalone air services deal on aviation should be negotiated “as soon as possible” to protect flights after 2021.
“This will ensure our industry can continue to thrive and provide vital economic connections and tourism links to the advantage of UK and EU passengers,” he said.