The U.K. has secured a U.S. accord allowing trans-Atlantic flights to continue as normal after Brexit — resolving another of the aviation-related issues stirring concern that travel might suffer following the split.

  • The bilateral air-services agreement guarantees the continuation of operations currently governed by a U.S.-EU “open skies” deal signed in 2007, according to a statement from the U.K. Department for Transport.

Key Insights:

  • The DfT trumpeted the accord as central to efforts to “cement global ties” ahead of Brexit. The likes of British Airways may breathe a sign of relief, it’s true, but with U.S. carriers having just as much to lose, aviation experts always expected an amicable settlement to be reached.
    • Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger said in March he was confident of a “very nice” agreement extending the existing liberal deal. It’s not clear from the DfT statement whether that’s quite the case, with reports suggesting that U.S. terms for future expansion may be less generous. Look out for more details when the full text is published.
    • The arrangement is one of nine Britain has so far secured, the DfT says, though most of the others are with rather smaller economies including Israel and Albania. Another major deal, with Canada, is in the works.
    • The U.S. pact comes after the U.K. earlier this month sealed an accord maintaining flights to EU nations even in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The biggest threat now could from a further weakening of the pound if Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce plan is rejected by U.K. lawmakers, a development that could lead millions of Brits to holiday at home.


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Photo Credit: Some British Airways planes on the tarmac at London's Heathrow Airport. The U.S. and the UK have reached an agreement to maintain air service between the two countries after Brexit. Bloomberg