The EU’s Brexit negotiators are reportedly threatening to severely restrict the operating rights of UK airlines unless Britain acts in line with the bloc’s laws and courts, leaked documents suggest, as reported by the Financial Times.

The EU’s remaining states have begun preparing for a lively debate on would-be EU-Britain ties, namely in aviation and research. The sources said these have to be in keeping with current arrangements which apply to non-EU countries, The Financial Times wrote.

Despite Britain’s hopes running high, there is little room for creativity in aviation, the European Commission stated. If Britain leaves the single EU market, UK-owned carriers will have limited rights in it and will no longer be entitled to EU-issued certificates of approval. 

“UK red lines mean exit from the single market,” the commission presentation said. “All rights, obligations and benefits derived cease. No traffic rights — end of market access; ownership & control rules — third country restrictions kick in; end of mutual recognition of certificates; end of participation in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).” 

Multinational companies like Virgin Atlantic and International Airlines Group will have to make sure that their controlling stake is owned by EU nationals to continue operating in the Eurozone unhindered.

The UK looks upon future talks with greater optimism, however. Chris Grayling, Britain’s transport minister, has said Britain is likely to remain a member of the EASA and eventually maintain similar flying rights.

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