UK Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling (Conservative) hopes to coordinate air and road transport with Estonia and all EU member states, with a no-deal Brexit contingency plan if required.
“It is in the interests of all EU member states as well as the UK that air and road transport connections remain after the UK leaves the EU,” Grayling wrote to Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson (Centre).
Mr. Grayling highlighted a UK Government White Paper setting out an agreement maintaining reciprocal liberalised aviation and road transport access between, through and within the UK and EU.
All contingencies need covering
“I have every confidence any future transport agreement between the EU and UK will be concluded; the UK’s preferred outcome. However, we must plan for alternatives,” Mr. Grayling continued. Representatives of the two countries should meet to discuss all contingencies, he said.
UK leader Theresa May has committed to maintaining Britain’s responsibilities in this area for as long as it remains in the EU, Mr. Grayling claimed.
“With this in mind, I must emphasise that we are keen to ensure we do not undermine the excellent air and road transport service relationships… between the UK and the EU,” he added.
Mr. Grayling also noted that the UK wants technical discussions between its Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and its European counterpart, to ensure alignment of respective plans. Mr. Grayling said the UK wants clarity on aviation safety in any scenario, to authorise carriers between the two blocs.
According to Mr. Grayling, over 130,000 passengers flew between the UK and Estonia in 2017, with UK air visitors spending around €33 million in Estonia.
A UK no deal withdrawal is not certain at present. Mr. Grayling aims for a meeting with Estonia in spring 2019.