Owners of the UK’s five major airports have joined together to warn the government that Brexit uncertainty is set to have a huge impact on passenger numbers.

The report, written by consultancy WPI Economics but not available publically, was submitted to the government by Gatwick, Heathrow, London City, Manchester and Stansted airports. It calls on the EU and the UK government to put an interim aviation arrangement in place by October next year.

As Sky News notes, “the [aviation] sector is not subject to a World Trade Organisation (WTO) framework and therefore faces seeing flights grounded without a new temporary or permanent deal.”

The report forecasts that between March 2018 and March 2019, there could be a 41% fall in passenger demand across Britain’s biggest airports, representing 8.1 million bookings, or 16.2 million journeys between the UK and EU countries

It also highlights the risk of a 20.6% decline in aircraft movements – or 297,000 flights – and a 3.8%, or 8,600-ton, fall in freight traffic.

The report stresses that an early agreement with the EU is necessary because the closer the industry gets to the end of the Article 50 withdrawal process without a deal, “the greater the negative economic consequences will be”.

The operator’s view on Brexit

We recently interviewed Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, Luxaviation UK, to get the operator’s view on Brexit. Watch the video below and read our article summarising a panel discussion at EBACE on the topic.