Norwegian authorities cannot guarantee normal air traffic to and from the UK after March 30 this year, if the UK plunges out of the EU without an agreement.
According to Minister of Transport Jon Georg Dale (FRP), air traffic from Norway to London and other destinations in the UK can stop altogether:
- In extreme consequence, there may be a full stop of air traffic. But I consider the risk of that to be small, says Dale to VG.
Before the weekend he answered the Storting as follows:
“Without any other form of agreement between Norway and the UK, these flights will not be able to continue as today,” writes Dale in a written reply to the Storting, dated 10 January.
According to the Ministry, there are 482 flights every week between Norway and the British Isles.
Tuesday evening at 8 pm Norwegian time, it is expected that the vote on Theresa Mays plan for the British exit from the EU will start.
Everybodys’ fear is a withdrawal without any agreement. That is why we are now working at full throttle among British parliamentarians to avoid that.
According to Minister for Transport and Communications , it is critical for Norwegian air traffic that an agreement is put in place that regulates air traffic between the two countries.
The EU rules on passenger rights will not apply to travel with UK airlines from the UK to Norway, from the moment the British leave the EU.
Security checks may also be different. According to the Minister of Transport, the requirements will be the same as for passengers coming from or traveling to other third countries outside the EU. This can mean double security checks.
Low risk – major consequences
“The risk is low, but the consequences of a breach can be very big if we are left without agreements,” says Jon Georg Dale.
- This is not only true of Norway, so many countries are now working hard to get agreements in place. I think for our part, it is possible to get agreement in place before the UK leaves the EU, he adds.
- What rights do passengers have on the wrong side of the North Sea in case everything stops up?
“This depends on what the British themselves do with their national passenger rights legislation, so it’s too early to respond,” says Dale.
The EU has an emergency agreement
The EU and the United Kingdom agree on an emergency plan that prevents the worst consequences for EU citizens.
According to the agreement, British aircraft may continue to fly through the EU airspace for one year if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement. The same applies to aircraft from the EU in British airspace. But it is unclear whether this agreement also applies to EEA countries such as Norway.
Formerly, Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) and her British colleague Theresa May have entered into a political agreement, stating that the two countries’ citizens can continue to live and work in each other’s countries. However, the agreement is not yet legally binding.
Critical access to drugs
Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) met in the Storting’s European Committee on November 30 last year. Then she said that the authorities’ serious worry also concerns access to drugs after a “Hard Brexit”.
According to the minutes, she pointed out two special challenges:
“And that is that air traffic on the basis of missing agreements does not cease on that day. The second is the availability of necessary medicines and medical equipment which have some of the same challenge, ”said Eriksen Søreide.
Source: VG / Norway Today