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Airlines 2050: Climate change and sustainability dominated the aviation conference in London last Continued from page 80


warned: “Tere are headwinds facing the industry that are not due to Brexit.” Tat view was confirmed by


Iata chief economist Brian Pearce who told the conference: “Tere is a serious risk of recession. Business confidence has dipped sharply. It would be wise to prepare for much more difficult business conditions over the next 12 months.” Pearce said: “Europe has seen


a whole series of bankruptcies. Te industry is quite fragile. Airlines have struggled with rising costs in the last two years, and in the last 12 months the industry has lost the ability to recover its cost increases. Tat is a challenge. “Air cargo is collapsing in the


face of trade wars. It has fallen 5% below the level of last year and in revenue terms it has fallen 10%.” Yet Iata UK and Ireland area


manager Simon McNamara agreed with the DfT assessment on Brexit, saying: “Aviation is in a good place even if there is no deal – perhaps beter than a lot of other sectors. Te question is what happens next? Brexit is a potential impediment to Britain remaining competitive.” Karen Dee, chief executive


of the Airport Operators Association, told the conference: “It’s what happens next that is most important.” Dale Keller, chief executive


of the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (Bar UK), said: “Te big impacts are uncertainty and around currency. Te big concern for foreign airlines is what will the border look like from day one, particularly for cargo.” But he added: “Te govern-


ment has shown it’s pragmatic, so we’re confident [on Brexit].”


Cook failure ‘shows need to reform insolvency rules’


Aviation industry leaders hailed the CAA’s repatriation of Tomas Cook customers following the company’s collapse and called for reform of insolvency rules. However, there was sharp


criticism of demands for a future repatriation protection scheme to include all flights. Simon McNamara, Iata UK


and Ireland area manager, told the Airlines 2050 conference in London: “Aviation is a tough business. Failures happen. Te question is how you manage it. Te CAA has done a fantastic job in repatriating


Iata’s Simon McNamara (left) and panellists


passengers, but it is highly inefficient to ask the CAA to run an airline.” Aviation lawyer Jo Kolatsis, an


advisor to the Airline Insolvency Review which reported in May, agreed: “Te repatriation was handled extremely well by the CAA. But it highlighted the problems with the insolvency regime and the fact that something needs to be done.” Department for Transport (DfT)


aviation director Dan Micklethwaite denied the government had been slow to react in the aſtermath of Monarch’s failure in October 2017. He said: “We commissioned the


Buck report [the Airline Insolvency review] aſter Monarch failed. Te fact it took some time indicates how difficult an issue this is. It reported in May. We consulted on the report and that ended only a few weeks before Tomas Cook failed.” Micklethwaite insisted: “Work


is under way. Tere are two issues: how you keep a fleet flying, and how you pay for that. It’s not easy.” Yet he conceded: “We need a beter toolkit.” Dale Keller, chief executive of


the Board of Airline Representatives, argued against consumer protection covering all flights for insolvency. He said: “Te UK government


would not need to step in [to organise repatriation] for the vast majority of foreign carriers [operating to Britain], and US carriers can say there is zero risk because they have Chapter 11 [bankruptcy protection].” Keller added: “Tomas Cook’s


failure was not the failure of an airline [but] of a tour operator with 500 high street shops. Te airline part was high- profile because of the repatriation.”


Government has no plans to revise flight delay rights


Te government will reject airline demands to revise EU rules on compensation to air passengers for delays and cancellations aſter Brexit. Dale Keller, chief executive of


Bar UK, said Brexit offers “a big op- portunity to reform” EU Regulation 261 on air passenger rights. But DfT aviation director Dan


78 24 OCTOBER 2019


Micklethwaite said there “won’t be a wholesale look” at consumer protection post-Brexit, although he said “it’s right that customers get compensation when their plans are disrupted significantly”. Keller noted the UK


government had recommended reforms to the regulation “that are gathering dust in Brussels”. He was backed by industry


lawyer Jo Kolatsis, who said: “Consumers love the regulation, but it is not fit for what it is meant to do. It’s a cash cow for consumers and driving up costs for airlines.”


Dale Keller, Bar UK


Simon McNamara, Iata UK


and Ireland area manager, said: “Someone can buy a flight for £50 and get £250 compensation [for a delay]. It drives up airfares.”


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