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Potential impact of Scottish independence on flights from Scotland

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Potential impact of Scottish independence on flights from Scotland

Old 28th Feb 2014, 17:46
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Potential impact of Scottish independence on flights from Scotland

Evening Ladies and Gents,


First time poster but long-time reader with interest. The reason I have decided to finally sign up and post is because I have some rather specific questions and I hope some knowledgeable people here from within the industry can give me an informed answer, rather than the uninformed nonsense coming from point scoring politicians.

With the referendum on Scotland independence just a matter of months away, I was wondering in the event of a yes vote what impact would this have upon Scotland’s airline and tour operator industry.

I think it’s safe to say an independent Scotland will not gain automatic entry to the EU, and why should it, so what effect could this have on flights between Scotland and the continent and in particular those operated by low cost airlines. For example would Easyjet, a British airline still be able to offer flights between Glasgow and Berlin if Scotland is not part of Britain and the EU? Similarly, for example, would Ryanair, an Irish airline still be able to offer flights between Edinburgh and many EU destinations if Scotland is no longer part of the UK and the EU?

Another question I have is regarding long haul flights. Now my basic understanding is that the likes of United Airlines, US Airways and Emirates will be able to operate into an independent Scotland without issue but where there may be an issue is with Virgin Atlantic. Would Virgin Atlantic, a British airline still be able to fly its Glasgow-Orlando route considering Glasgow would a non-Britain and non-EU airport?

Am I also right in thinking that Thomson and Thomas Cook would have no option but to cancel all flights from Scotland to more exotic destinations such as Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Egypt etc but you cannot have a UK/EU based airline operating flights between two non-UK/EU airports, which is what, for example a Glasgow to Cancun routing would be.


Thank you in advance for any information.
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Old 28th Feb 2014, 21:13
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And what if they reduce/cancel ADT? First class pax flying from London to Scotland before starting their long-haul will soon have London thinking.
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Old 28th Feb 2014, 21:27
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Why would flying longhaul via Scotland be anymore a threat to APD than via Ireland or Continental Europe?
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Old 28th Feb 2014, 21:37
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Penguin - your questions seem to be based on the assumption that
- Scotland will vote for independence
- AND Scotland will have to spend a year or more outside the EU
- AND Scotland won't sign an interim air transport agreement with the EU (as has happened with Morocco and Israel) or otherwise grant some form of open skies.

To be honest, I think assuming all 3 points is quite a strong assertion - any Scottish transport ministry would be foolish to let all 3 points come into effect.

Scotland's only link to anywhere outside the British Isles is by flying. Loganair and bmi regional are great airlines but will never be able to service Scotland in the way that the country needs. That means Scotland has to have a liberal air transport market with (as a minimum) the rest of the EU or go back to the bad old days of the 1980s with national flag carriers charging a fortune, putting Scotland at a significant disadvantage to the rest of the EU
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Old 28th Feb 2014, 21:42
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These are al extremely rhetorical questions, but a non-EU country can subscribe to the Single Market for air transport outwith the EU - for example Norway and Iceland. I could very well foresee an iScotland - if it were pursuing eventual membership of the EU - negotiating a place in the EU 'acquis' as regards aviation, and benefiting from both the liberalised internal market and e.g. the EU/US bilateral aviation agreement.

Negotiations would be in order but not nearly as complex as some of the other stuff they would have to sort out.

But dinnae fash yersel', it's not goin' tae happen

written while DJ6 was already posting his excellent answer
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Old 28th Feb 2014, 21:59
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And no EURO-VISION song contest
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Old 1st Mar 2014, 01:30
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A more interesting question would be what will happen to the airspace. There is already the UK/Ireland FAB (funtional air block) where Shannon ATC work large parts of UK airspace under an agreement, and the Irish Aviation Authority are making serious moves to take back ATC for the north Atlantic (delegated to Prestwick by the Irish government in 1966 IIRC.
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Old 1st Mar 2014, 05:29
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If Scotland votes Yes, there is no automatic entry into the EU but is it really conceivable that the EU would revoke the EU passports of 5.3 million people that live in an independent Scotland, revoke the rights of Scottish people who work in other EU countries from having the right to work there, revoke the rights of citizens of other EU countries (including from the rest of the UK) to work in Scotland, revoke the right of Spanish, French, Danish and other EU fishermen to fish in Scottish waters, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc.

Scotland, as part of the UK, already complies with all EU regulations and its people are already EU citizens. A way will be found to allow continuing membership. The scare stories are just that. Scare stories. The fact that the EU has never encountered this situation before does not mean that it's going to do something vindictive and vexatious which would cause the rest of the EU as many problems as it would cause an independent Scotland.

So, yes, there is a theoretical risk but in reality a way will be found. Sweden negotiated membership of the EU from scratch in about 12 months. A Scotland that already complies with all EU regulations will be able to negotiate membership in the same or less time. These scare stories are theoretically possible but realistically utter nonsense.
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Old 1st Mar 2014, 05:38
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Excellent post, Porrohman.

Pragmatism will be the order of the day.
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Old 1st Mar 2014, 06:35
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I agree that pragmatism will win the day, but I'm not sure it will be as straight forward as suggested:

From a practical point of view, I find it very hard to believe that "Sweden negotiated membership of the EU from scratch in about 12 months". And even if they did, the implementation of EU membership won't be done in 12 months - the SG doesn't have the capacity;

There is resistance in a number of member states to making it too easy for separatist movements to split off - Spain being the obvious one, but there are others;

There is also a growing feeling that the EU is too unwieldy as it is now, another MS just makes life harder for everybody especially if they aren't bringing a large political/economic bonus to the table;

There will be very strong resistance from the North of England if Scotland is seen to be distorting the market in Aviation (and other areas!) e.g. by scrapping APD etc - Newcastle is probably too small to have much impact but when Manchester weighs in it'll be a different story.
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Old 1st Mar 2014, 06:50
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We've been in the EU for 40 years. Sweden wasn't.

Spain's position has been stated publicly on a number of occasions. No other state has ever raised any issues. Why would they?

The views of people in the north of England are irrelevant quite frankly. Neighbouring states competing on APD is simply a fact of life.

Last edited by perthsaint; 1st Mar 2014 at 06:51. Reason: APD not AND
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Old 1st Mar 2014, 08:07
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Thanks for all the answers,

It would appear flights to the EU would be safe but, unless I’m missing something, nobody has answered the question regarding flights to further afield destinations.

Would Thomson for example still be able to fly from Glasgow to the Dominican Republic and Mexico? It is my understanding that because of different laws, Thomson being a British airline can only operate from British airports to these destinations. This could be why such routes do not exist from Dublin, perhaps?
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Old 1st Mar 2014, 08:07
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Maybe it will be time to revive Caledonian Airways? Good luck to the Scots if they choose to leave the UK. There may not be a majority voting for Scottish independence within Scotland, but I suspect there is a majority within the rest of the UK (or maybe just within England, or maybe just within the SE of England...?) who would vote for Scottish independence.......

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Old 1st Mar 2014, 08:40
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Originally Posted by perthsaint
We've been in the EU for 40 years. Sweden wasn't.

Spain's position has been stated publicly on a number of occasions. No other state has ever raised any issues. Why would they?

I really fail to understand Spain's stance on Scottish Independence. I know people talk about Basque or Catalan independence as being the cause of their reluctance, but they are not the same thing. If Scotland votes for yes then it will be a democratic process agreed to by both the Scottish and rUK government. The UK Government has already stated it will fully support whatever result the voters return, so why Spain is going to kick up a fuss is beyond me. The only way Spain could possibly compare this to it's own situation or that of Kosovo (who they also disagree with) is if the SNP used terrorism tactics (as in the case of ETA), Independence was announced against the wishes of the parent state and the parent state also refused to recognise the new states status (as in the case of Kosovo) or the parent state refused to acknowledge or even provide the residents with a legally binding, mutually agreed to referendum (as is the case with Catalonia).
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Old 1st Mar 2014, 08:50
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Spain isn't going to kick up a fuss. That's the point.
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Old 1st Mar 2014, 08:52
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All the posts so far only deal with the technicalities of traffic rights etc. Surely equally important would be how an independent Scotland would fare economically as this would determine the success or failure of routes to and from Scotland.
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Old 1st Mar 2014, 09:04
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I agree with Porrohman, absolutely correct. Scotland already complies with ALL EU requirements etc. The EU will not reject an existing enthusiastic member. The greatest threat to Scotland's EU membership comes from English right wing politicians, and is certainly not from independence.
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Old 1st Mar 2014, 09:16
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I hear Mr Salmon wants to set up passport control at Hadrian's Wall to check on all the right wingers wanting a slice of the action
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Old 1st Mar 2014, 10:29
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In a word no impact whatsoever.

I fail to understand the scaremongering that there would be ?
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Old 1st Mar 2014, 10:37
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Racedo is right, as a Scot I say go for it. I have heard the case all my days that everything will be better if a group of British rogues is swapped for a Scottish one.
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