No-deal Brexit ‘could see up to FIVE MILLION plane tickets cancelled’ as airlines are accused of failing to warn passengers about threat of chaos
- Theresa May struggling to break the deadlock over how to go ahead with Brexit
- Air industry has warned five million tickets might be cancelled if there is no deal
- Consumer watchdog says airlines are not giving passengers enough information
Britons could face up to five million plane tickets being cancelled if there is a no-deal Brexit – as airlines were accused of failing to warn passengers.
A consumer watchdog suggested the industry is ‘unwilling to give any information’ about the consequences of crashing out of the EU, and should be ‘more up front’.
The intervention comes after the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said up to five million bookings were ‘at risk’ this year if there is no deal.
The EU has said the number of flights to destinations on the continent will be kept at last year’s levels, but the number of tickets issued has been expanded dramatically since then. There are also concerns that UK travellers will need to have at least six months left on their passports.
The threat of no deal has been rising as Theresa May struggles to find a way through deadlock in Parliament. Her blueprint was resoundingly rejected by MPs in an historic vote last week.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned up to five million bookings are ‘at risk’ this year if there is no deal. PIctured are BA planes at Heathrow
Theresa May (pictured returning to Downing Street today) is scrambling to find a way through the Brexit deadlock
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel told the Times: ‘The lack of warning for passengers is alarming.’
He said: ‘It is the job of airlines to tell passengers what is likely to happen. If they were more upfront it would give passengers the information they need to protect themselves.’
Ministers ‘could ask queen to block’ MPs’ law delaying Brexit
Ministers could urge the Queen to block a bid by MPs to delay or cancel Brexit, a constitutional expert warned today.
Remainers from across parties are launching a bid to seize control of Parliamentary business from the government so they can rule out a no-deal departure from the EU.
But Sir Stephen Laws, who used to be the government’s legislation chief and now works at the Policy Exchange think-tank, said there was a risk of the monarch being asked to ‘veto’ the plan.
‘It could raise a question whether the government would be entitled or might feel required to reassert its constitutional veto by advising the Queen not to grant royal assent to the bill,’ he said.
‘How should the monarch react to such advice? The answer is not straightforward and the prospect of it needing to be considered in a real life political crisis is unthinkably awful.
‘It is a sacred duty of all UK politicians not to involve the monarch in politics. They have a constitutional responsibility to resolve difficulties between themselves in accordance with the rules, and so as not to call on the ultimate referee.’
Mr Boland examined the ‘booking journey’ on UK airlines’ websites, and found they do not warn travellers of the potential fallout from a no-deal Brexit.
Only Wizz Air, the Hungarian airline, has apparently warned British travellers of the position.
‘Airlines don’t seem to be willing to give any information … that’s what worries you the most and makes you really fear what is going to happen [in the event of no deal],’ he said.
Passengers on flights that are axed should automatically be given refunds.
According to IATA research, five million extra seats are scheduled for 2019 compared to 2018 in order to meet consumer demand.
Chief executive Alexandre de Juniac said last week: ‘That current flight levels will be protected even with a hard Brexit is an important assurance.’
‘But with two months left until Britain leaves the EU, airlines still do not know exactly what kind of Brexit they should be planning for.
‘And there is legal and commercial uncertainty over how the Commission’s plan to cap flight numbers will work.
‘In the small window remaining before Brexit it is imperative that the EU and UK prioritize finding a solution that brings certainty to airlines planning growth to meet demand and to travelers planning business trips and family holidays.’
Mrs May will unveil her Brexit ‘Plan B’ today – trying to win over Tory Eurosceptics and the DUP by securing more concessions from the EU.
The PM has been scrambling to find a way through after her deal was humiliatingly crushed in the Commons last week.
But in a conference call with Cabinet last night Mrs May effectively ruled out trying to find a cross-party consensus – instead making clear she will focus her efforts on bringing Brexiteer rebels and the DUP back onside.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to hold discussions with the PM, and there has been little success for the government in trying to peel off Opposition MPs
The approach has been branded ‘one more heave’ by ministers, but it is far from clear that the EU is willing to give enough ground on the crucial Irish border backstop issue.
Mrs May will appear in the House later to explain how she intends to proceed.
She will also table a ‘neutral’ motion to be debated and voted on – along with any amendments tabled by MPs – on January 29.
Government sources said she would be holding further talks with MPs, as well as business leaders and trade unionists, throughout the week.
But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to hold discussions with the PM, and there has been little success for the government in trying to peel off Opposition MPs. The deal was hammered by a record margin of 230 votes in the Commons last week.
There have also been fears that forcing through a package with Labour support will split the Tories and cause an election.
Mrs May is now expected to press for changes to the Northern Ireland backstop in the hope she can win round Tory Brexiteers and her allies in the DUP.