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Flights will 'run smoothly' after Brexit – government

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Flights and road haulage will "continue to run smoothly" in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Department for Transport (DfT) has claimed.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Government will reciprocate the European Union's proposed extension of an agreement ensuring flights between the UK and the EU can operate as normal after the former's withdrawal from the bloc.

A deal announced earlier this year saw flight rights guaranteed until March 2020, but this is set to be extended to the following October.

The European Commission has also proposed extending a regulation allowing road freight to continue between the UK and the EU until July 31 next year.

This follows similar commitments already made by the UK Government.

The DfT claimed the measures will "ensure flights and road haulage will continue to run smoothly after the UK leaves the EU on October 31, whatever the circumstances".

Mr Shapps said: "We welcome these proposals from the European Commission to extend arrangements allowing flights and road haulage to continue between the UK and EU after Brexit.

"Connectivity is at the forefront of this Government's vision for a global, outward-facing Britain and these extensions between the UK and EU ensure that it will be business as usual when travelling and trading for the foreseeable future."

Trade body the Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee said: "The measures outlined by the UK Government will ensure that flights between the UK and EU will be able to continue in a no-deal scenario, this includes UK domestic routes currently operated by EU airlines for a limited time.

"This comes on top of the important steps the UK Government has taken in concluding UK bilateral agreements with non-EU countries like the US and Canada where we currently fly to under an EU-level agreement.

"While an orderly transition period remains airports' top priority, today's announcement, alongside the European Commission's proposal yesterday, should reassure passengers that the UK's essential air connectivity will continue to operate.

"They can book their 2020 holidays, family visits and business trips with confidence."

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