How are passenger rights affected?
Assuming that the UK chooses to disregard the current regulation, passengers travelling to and from the UK from non-EU destinations, will most likely have little to no financial entitlements, should their flight be severely delayed and/or cancelled. See below for an overview:
As shown in the table above, UK carriers would no longer be regarded as EU fleet, thus changing the entitlement to compensation. Further to this, UK passengers will no longer have the right to care.The right to care is complementary to the right to compensation and specifies that airlines must guarantee refreshments, phone calls, transportation and even overnight accommodation in the case of delayed/cancelled flights.
Over the past year, more than 34,000 passengers filed a claim for compensation with Flight-Delayed.co.uk, an online service that helps passengers claim compensation for delayed,cancelled or overbooked flights under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 .
On average each passenger received € 440 (£337), resulting in a total amount of nearly € 15 million (£11.5 million) that the company was able to claim for its passengers in 2015.
With over 3 million travellers flying from the UK’s busiest airport, London Heathrow, in May 2016 alone, a Brexit from the EU will now mean no more compensation for millions of passengers.
Based on recent calculations provided by Flight-Delayed.co.uk, Britain’s exit from the EU aviation market will result in a yearly loss of over 285 million pounds in compensation for UK passengers.
Potential exit from the aviation market?
Should the UK decide to draft their own aviation laws, it is expected to cause operational issues for airlines, in particular if they continue to operate within Europe. The benefits of a single aviation market, allowing unlimited access to European skies, would no longer apply.
Assuming the UK negotiates its own deals, this could either become a bilateral agreement with the EU as a whole, as Switzerland have done, or with individual member states.
Britain will also have to reach an agreement with the US. As it stood, as a EU member state, carriers from the UK could freely fly to and from the US under the EU-US open skies agreement. Britain could either opt to re-join open skies or negotiate its own bilateral deal with the US.
However, should the UK wish to re-join the EU aviation market, they will have to adhere once more to regulations and principles set by the European Union.
The period in which the negotiation will take place, is expected to take two years. Passengers will be covered under current legislation during that time.
It remains to be seen how the the policies regarding passenger rights will unfold