It’s been 4 months since my last Blog talking about Brexit and how it may affect the travel industry. In those 4 months it feels like so much has happened, yet at the same time when looking at the government’s position and progress... little has actually changed.
A version of Theresa May’s chequers deal was finally approved by the EU in November, but without the backing of parliament and an almost certain defeat in the commons looming, the meaningful vote scheduled for 11th December was delayed over Christmas and has now been confirmed to be taking place on 15th January 2019.
With Theresa May sticking to her position on the UK leaving the EU on the 29th March (just 11 weeks away) and no majority for any kind of deal in sight, the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit is more of a reality than ever, despite the option of leaving without a deal being the only option there is a majority to avoid.
Both the Government and Industry are now ramping up their preparations for leaving without a deal, and by the nature of business travel and its international reach, this includes preparing the travel industry to deal with a no deal scenario.
Last week, EasyJet confirmed they are in an advanced stage of no deal preparations, with a spokesman confirming they “have put in place three operating airlines, in Austria, Switzerland and the UK, in order to be able to maintain flying both between the UK and Europe and within Europe.”
Ryanair, Europe’s largest low cost carrier have also publicly said they have “robust post-Brexit structures” in place, and it was reported last week their UK subsidiary has been granted an air operators certificate (AOC), meaning their network is safeguarded against a hard Brexit...good news for the record number of RyanAir customers who shook off the Brexit doomsday forecasts and booked holidays for after 29th March.
The government have also now issued advice to the travel industry over passport validity changes should we leave the EU without a deal, with the HM Passport Office requesting travel companies inform their customers of these changes.
The official advise in the event of a no deal Brexit at time of writing is:
After 29 March 2019:
1. You should have at least 6 months left on your passport from your date of arrival. This applies to adult and child passports.
2. If you renewed a passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months that should be remaining for travel to most countries in Europe.
The new rules will apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey.
It’s anyone’s guess how the meaningful vote will go next week, and what future the UK will face post March 29th. With a defeat a high possibility, there is a chance we will have more questions than answers next Wednesday once the dust has settled.