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UK key to European growth of short haul operations

Friday, July 29, 2016

Brexit: The UK and EU flag
UK: The UK has been key to the growth of Europe‘s short-haul operations.That is according to who’s second quarterly report highlights the biggest markets currently being exploited by the UK and European airlines. 
Flights from the UK to Spain are currently the most in-demand routes for European airlines in terms of expansion of passenger numbers alone, according to the report. It is this service that has seen the most additional passengers added and is the third biggest market overall. The two countries enjoy the busiest pairing in the EU with 287 routes being served by 16 operators to and from the countries.
The quarterly report comes shortly after the result of the UK’s referendum on its continued membership of the EU and although for the moment the UK aviation market is enjoying a strong period, early estimations by the International Air transport Association (IATA) suggest that the number of British air passengers could fall by between 3 and 5 % by 2020.
Some airlines have already scrambled to reduce their operations to and from the UK but most carriers are reporting good results for the 2nd quarter and are seemingly trying to ride out the turbulence the British public have caused for their European counterparts and the aviation industry as a whole.
The result means that the UK and EU will now have to figure out a new framework within which to cooperate. This could explain the reluctance of UK and EU airlines to make a decision on their plans to reduce their operating capacity going forward, as the knock on effect has yet to be determined.
The UK will have the option of negotiating access to the single aviation market or of flying solo and setting its own regulations. However, at the moment the process is still in the speculation period and no definitive answer has yet to be provided.
It is not just the uncertainty of the potential changes to UK airlines operating regulations that have caused a stir, but also the pound that has tumbled significantly against the dollar, causing concern across all markets, not just aviation.
Despite the uncertainty, some European airlines have recently announced that they will be expanding their services from the UK.
Wizz Air announced new routes to Lithuania, Moldova and Romania and UK airlines such as easyJet will continue to operate as normal as they added sharply to capacity in the second quarter of the year compared to the same period last year. However, the budget carrier also issued profit warnings going forward.
During the last year, easyJet’s main competitor Ryanair became the first carrier to pass the 100 million passenger mark for an annual period and show no signs of slowing or reducing their operations.
It is still too early to tell how the BREXIT (a British exit from the European Union) will affect the aviation and travel industries, as the majority of those travelling for the summer, would have booked their trips well in advance of the vote.
Airlines and the travel industry will be hoping that they are in for a smooth landing opposed to a bumpy ride.