Brexit. The United Kingdom and Switzerland sign a bilateral air transport agreement

On 17 December 2018, the United Kingdom and Switzerland signed an agreement aimed at avoiding any interruption in air traffic between the two countries after Brexit.

Even though Switzerland is not part of the European Union, it is highly integrated with the EU internal market, including the aviation market. On 21 June 1999, the EU and Swiss Confederation signed a bilateral agreement on air transport, which entered into force on 1 June 2002. The agreement allows all EU and Swiss airlines to operate direct flights between any airport in the EU and Switzerland. Through the agreement, Switzerland has adopted most of the European Union’s aviation laws, including Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community.

Once the United Kingdom will leave the European Union, European law will not apply to it and, therefore, UK airlines will no longer be considered European carriers and will not be able to freely operate continental flight routes, as currently provided by Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008. This will have an impact on flights between the United Kingdom and Switzerland. 

The agreement signed by the two countries guarantees the terms of the current EU-Switzerland agreement on air services and will enter into force when the United Kingdom officially withdraws from the European Union. In case of a no deal scenario, it will apply as of 30 March 2019. 

Sara Capruzzi