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The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has confirmed that warnings that Brexit could have a significant impact on supply chain continuity due to flight disruptions between the UK and EU countries have validity.

In a recent statement on the draft guidelines on the framework for the future relationship with the UK, Mr Tusk highlighted transport links as being one of three priority areas for continued cooperation.  

“I am determined to avoid that particularly absurd consequence of Brexit that is the disruption of flights between the UK and the EU. To do so, we must start discussions on this issue as soon as possible,” said Mr. Tusk.

In 1992, the Member States of the European Union agreed to create a single market in air transport. This meant liberalising aviation and allowing all European Community airlines to fly passengers and goods throughout the EU. All airlines established inside the EU have equal rights under the law to operate air services from their home base. European airlines are also entitled to establish operations anywhere in the EU on the same terms as local airlines. The aviation single market is predicated on the EU’s principles of freedom of movement for EU citizens and relies on the European Court of Justice as its final arbiter. Given that these are key areas of disagreement between the UK and the EU, the threat of failure to agree a way forward is real.

Businesses, especially those who regularly import and export goods to and from Europe by air, are advised to watch this area carefully as Brexit negotiations unfold. If no agreement on aviation is in place towards the close of negotiations then contingency plans will need to be made to ensure supply chain continuity and to deal with the product shortages which could develop.

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