Vienna, 8 November 2018 – The Brexit outcome will be highly consequential for the future of air travel in Europe, as well as its impact on the regions which have an airport on their territories. This was one of the conclusions of the Airport Regions Conference (ARC) autumn assembly.

Local and regional public authorities from all across Europe met in Vienna from 7 to 9 November to discuss the latest challenges in the sector of regional development and aviation, with a special focus on Brexit. The ARC airport regions represent more than 60 million European citizens and half of the European traffic goes through these regions, hence they are key players on the European stage.

The 2018 ARC autumn assembly was jointly hosted by the City of Vienna and the Vienna International Airport. Erich Valentin, the ARC president, member of the Vienna City Council and the Austrian Provincial Parliament, opened up the assembly by stressing the need for discussion on the consequences of Brexit on the aviation sector. The ARC is the independent voice of European citizens and we are delighted to be able to inform the European politicians about the consequences of a no deal Brexit. The assembly of the ARC hopes that the outcomes of this meeting helped to find strategies to support the process of negotiations.

Among the key aspects discussed was Brexit and its impact on European airport regions. As the EU and UK are planning to strike a deal by the end of 2018, it is important that the European airports and their regions are prepared for the Brexit outcome. Adding extra weight to the discussions was the Brexit panel that included policymakers, public authorities, airports and operators. Andreas Schieder, Member of the Austrian Parliament and Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, mentioned that a solution to Brexit is necessary and this can be done by gradually reaching agreements on these aspects and continuously working on them.

Wolfgang Gallistl, the Managing Director of Slot Coordination Austria and Secretary General of the Austrian Airports Association, a neutral facilitator of slots for Austrian airports, added that the uncertainty around the Brexit deal is of some concern for the airports and the airlines.The Vice-President in charge of international & aeropolitical affairs at Austrian Airlines, Walter Reimann, explained that to get prepared for a hard Brexit, we must take into consideration the flight program, the certificates and licenses of operators, the one-stop security, cargo and visas, but it is important to remain optimistic.

The assembly also included two study visits which were excellent opportunities for discussion, exchange of ideas and practices, and networking for the ARC members with their peers from Austria. The first study visit took place at a unique multimedia platform where the ARC members were able to have hands-on experience with modern aircraft and the latest innovations in air transport services.

The second study visit focused on the public transport system of Vienna and the infrastructure challenge that the city is confronted with. As Vienna is one of the fastest growing cities of Europe, the population increasing by 30-40.000 every year, new districts had to be created. The ARC members had the opportunity to visit Aspern-Seestadt, a new urban centre and one of Europe’s largest urban development projects. Aspern-Seestadt is a city-within-a-city that combines high quality of life with economic drive and is very well connected through transport links.

 

*Since 1994, when the ARC was established, the assembly has become a symbol of interregional cooperation. The assembly is one of the ARC instruments for enhancing European regional development through transfers of know-how and exchange of experiences between airport regions.

**Should you have any questions, please contact the ARC Projects & Communication Officer, Alexandra Covrig, at alexandra.covrig@airportregions.org.