Ministers and the airline industry have said Brexit will provide new opportunities to strengthen links with countries outside the EU, including the US and Canada.
In a joint statement with Airlines UK, transport secretary Chris Grayling and David Davis, secretary of state for exiting the European Union, said aviation was ‘absolutely crucial' to ‘building a global Britain that seizes the opportunities exiting the EU presents’.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling
With the UK airlines’ access to the single European air transport market shaped by EU rules, the statement said market access ‘remains a top priority’, adding: ‘We want to make sure we have liberal access to European aviation markets.'
It is possible to be part of the European single aviation market, without being part of the EU, as in the case of Norway and Iceland among others - provided they implement all the necessary rules.
However, following the election of Donald Trump as the next US president, ministers said: ‘We will also work closely to explore new opportunities for further liberalisation. We are clear that Brexit provides greater freedom to seek new agreements between the UK and some third countries.
‘This includes looking at possible bilateral agreements to strengthen economic and cultural ties even further with countries such as the US and Canada.’
The statement cited aviation safety, security, air traffic management, passenger rights, customs, and the environment as ‘other areas of critical importance to address during negotiations’.