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No-deal Brexit: Airports

Volume 666: debated on Thursday 24 October 2019

8. What recent assessment he has made of the potential effect on airports of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. (900115)

Flights between the UK and the EU will continue whatever the outcome of our EU exit. We are working with airports to ensure that freight can continue to flow and that any disruption to passengers is kept to a minimum. Aviation security in the UK will remain among the best in the world and passengers will not notice any change to airport security screening at UK airports as a result of EU exit.

Maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft is a major and growing industry at Prestwick airport in my constituency. With the Prime Minister’s preferred Brexit deal just one week away, what has already been put in place to provide the engineering licences and aircraft safety certificates currently provided by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency?

The first obvious point is that if the hon. Lady voted for the deal, we would go into the revised political declaration, which commits both the parties to uphold high safety and security standards and make arrangements to maintain close co-operation between the CAA and EASA. However, the Commission has already published proposals to extend its contingency measures for aviation until October 2020, were we to leave without a deal.

Whatever happens to Brexit, some of us have been greatly encouraged by the comments of the Secretary of State, of the Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the right hon. Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith), and yesterday of the Prime Minister in their lukewarm response to Heathrow expansion. Can the hon. Gentleman help resolve the contradiction between the official Government policy of encouraging airport expansion at Heathrow and their unofficial policy of opposing it?

I believe those arguments are entirely sustainable, and I am happy for the right hon. Gentleman to continue that conversation with the Prime Minister.