ORT Abta’s first virtual Travel Convention last week. Ian Taylor reports

‘Expect EU agreement on aviation even if no deal’

Time is running out for an EU-UK trade deal, but there could be a standalone agreement on aviation even if Brexit negotiations end in no deal, a former senior government advisor told the Travel Convention. Raoul Ruparel, Deloitte global

Brexit insights advisor, said: “The hope now is for intense negotiations and a deal by the end of the month.” That hope was dealt a blow at the

end of last week when prime minister Boris Johnson declared negotiations on a deal to be “over”. The government was due this week to a launch a ‘Time is running out’ campaign to alert businesses to prepare. However, there were reports

formal talks could resume if the EU signalled a willingness to give ground. Ruparel, former advisor on Brexit

to Theresa May, told the convention: “A key sticking point remains state aid. The EU is still looking for clarification on dispute resolution. “A second sticking point is how

disputes are settled. This was brought to the fore by the UK government’s intention to break international law [on the Northern Ireland agreement].

Brexit changes will be significant, warns Petherbridge

Businesses should prepare for “significant changes” from January 1 and not expect the Brexit transition period to be extended, Abta head of public affairs Luke Petherbridge has warned. Petherbridge told the Travel Luke Petherbridge Raoul Ruparel “A third is fishing, where the gulf

remains large. The UK is focussed on fishing as an issue where the EU needs to move.” He warned: “We’re talking about

a pretty shallow and narrow deal that would mainly deal with zero tariffs and zero quotas and be very limited on services. 70%-80% of changes will be the same regardless of whether there is a deal or not. So businesses need to get on and make changes now. “We know free movement is

going to end. There will be a new immigration system. A deal will only

help on the margins.” Ruparel argued: “There will be an

aviation agreement. There is broad agreement on aviation, but if there is no deal it could fall away. “Can a separate [aviation]

agreement exist if there is no deal? It can if no deal is amicable. But if it is acrimonious and the UK breaches international law on the Northern Ireland protocols, we could see quite a disruption. It’s unlikely, but we can’t discount it. Even with an acrimonious no deal, we will probably see some intermediary measures.”

Convention: “I don’t believe we’re heading for an extension.” He was responding to Giles

Hawke, Cosmos and Avalon Waterways’ chief executive, who told a convention workshop: “I’m hoping the government will extend the transition. I don’t think many businesses are going to be ready.” Petherbridge said: “The lack

of clarity is a big challenge. We continue to speak to government about contingency plans in the event of no deal. Whatever happens now,

KPMG economist warns of threat to summer 2021

There is a 50% chance of Covid disrupting next summer even if a vaccine is ready by early 2021, a leading economist warned the Travel Convention. KPMG chief economist Yael

Selfin said consumer sentiment for travel was likely to remain low without a vaccine. She suggested a vaccine could

emerge by January, but by April the lead-in time for rolling it out would mean travel restrictions remaining in place next summer. Selfin said: “It may mean we

lose another tourism season. If you have a vaccine by April and you allow four months for getting it to the population to allow you to lift restrictions, allowing for lead times for people to book, the possibility of losing next summer is relatively high. “We need to allow for the

possibility of it not being a normal season next summer. There is a 50% chance of that.” Selfin forecast demand

would remain high for overseas holidays, strong for domestic bookings but “very limited” for business travel.


we face pretty significant changes.” He warned: “It doesn’t look as

though we’re heading for a positive outcome on posted workers. “The government has made clear

they want a very basic agreement with the EU with no replacement for the Posted Workers’ Directive. “Our advice to businesses is to

hire staff locally for this winter.” Petherbridge added: “The Pet

Passports issue is a challenge. “Vets have no clue what they should do at the moment.”

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