A Brexit impact assessment compiled by Sheffield City Region officers, has highlighted leaving the EU without a workable deal could potentially harm the Finningley-based airport
The report said if a Brexit deal is not agreed, the UK will leave the common aviation area which will ‘restrict flights’ to and from 44 countries. It adds this will have a ‘big effect’ on the airport due to their ‘Eastern European flight schedules’.
Paul Johnson, senior economic policy manager at SCR, said: “There are potential implications for the airline industry, particularly in the instance of a no-deal situation.
“Many of the Eastern European flights serve migrant labour coming into work in factories and farms in Lincolnshire. If that demand falls, then the need for that many flights may well decrease affecting the DSA’s growth aspirations.
“There could also be an impact on air-borne freight coming into DSA. If there is reduced traffic through DSA this not only risks damage to a major regional asset whose main routes are with the EU, but it will impact business and leisure visitor numbers.
“Subsequently, it will affect the ability of the use of DSA to demonstrate to investors that the SCR is a good place to do business.”
The report, heard by the Local Enterprise Partnership has recommended to ‘speak to the Mayor’ Dan Jarvis about ‘lobbying activities on Brexit’ and to ‘initiate conversations with the airport about Brexit preparations’.
But South Yorkshire Brexit campaigner Steven Winstone said it is in Europe’s interests to be co-operative with the UK on air travel.
“I flew back from Switzerland last week. Switzerland is not in the EU,” he said.
“ECAC is not the primary manager of air traffic in Europe. The EU has delegated parts of its Single European Sky regulations to Eurocontrol, making it the central organisation for coordination and planning of air traffic control for all of Europe.
"The EU itself is a signatory of Eurocontrol and all EU member states are presently also members of Eurocontrol. Eurocontrol has 41 member states.
“The forecast that our airports will have to shut down as planes won’t be able to take off is nonsense. An agreement has already been reached between the UK and the EU that flights will not be affected for at least 12 months. After that, the UK is likely to join the European Common Aviation Area as an independent state, like Norway.
“It is in Europe’s interests to be co-operative. After all, many of their airlines do business in the UK and need access to our airspace for transatlantic routes.”