UK’s Total Capitulation on Brexit Deal Saves British Airways

Pro-Brexit forces in the UK have nearly completely folded in coming up with a transition deal.

The ‘win’ was saying they’d leave the EU, but in practice it won’t happen for many years (and the transition period could always get extended) while in the meantime they’re going to pay the EU, subject themselves to European regulation, and get a trade agreement.

The government slowly realised that this was simply delusional and conceded that formal departure would have to be followed by a “transition period”, during which Britain will continue to trade as if it is still a member of the EU at least until 2021. With the important difference that Britain will continue to be subject to EU law without having any say about what those laws are. Britain will go from being a rule-maker to a rule-taker. This will include an continuing role for the European court of justice in Britain’s affairs which will endure deep into the next decade, another of Mrs May’s “red lines” that have faded to a blush pink.

…Now the government says it expects Britain to be paying something of that order [€40bn], possibly rather more, as “a fair settlement of our obligations”

London Heathrow Terminal 5

Marginal Revolution summarizes, “In other words, they pay a lot of money, lose a seat at the table, and don’t significantly increase the policy autonomy of the country” while noting “Real estate in Northern Ireland remains significantly undervalued.”

This is all a win for British Airways, which retains access to European markets. There was never a chance of re-negotiating aviation treaties before ‘hard Brexit’ and at best wishful thinking that previous treaties superceded by the EU would simply revert into existence. There was some risk that Britons would have to sell their stakes in BA for the airline to retain access to European routes while avoiding running afoul of non-European ownership rules.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Dear Gary

    I like you far better when you have a well balanced flight and travel synopsis

    Quoting a one sided copied and pasted “Guardian” perspective, is limited and weak.

    Your articles without politics are far more enjoyable.

    Please do bare that in-mind.

    Thank you

  2. If you disagree with this analysis don’t just say you ‘don’t like it’ but offer reasons why it’s wrong… then we can have an interesting discussion.

  3. You quote one of the most left-wing pro-Europe rags on the planet, without so much as quotes or question mark in the headline, and expect respect for your efforts?

    Viva balanced blogging..

  4. The first clause of your quote is entirely made up and therefore the premise of the Guardian’s op-ed is flawed. From that flows the rest of their commentary which is based on that falsehood and your commentary which in turn is based on their misleading op-ed. As just one pointer, the Government has yet again reiterated that there’s no money if there’s no deal.

  5. It is really illuminating how people with differing political perspectives approach discussing events and issues. Do they present facts with reliable sources and draw logical conclusions? Or do they name call and stereotype and tell people to stick to points/whatever and ignore the substance, and seem unwilling to engage with counter evidence based on facts from reasonably non-partisan sources?

  6. I work on Brexit for my job. There are moments where i tear my hair out, but let me be clear: Nothing is sorted.

    British Airways (with IAG) would be mad – frankly, irresponsible – to not put contingency plans in place, and I am sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will be. Handy to have a Spanish and Irish airline in the stable..

  7. I view this whole process as unnecessary, but to provide the context you seem incapable of…

    The UK has agreed to pay “around £40bn” over 40 years, as liabilities in various projects fall due. This compares to the UK’s current net contribution to the EU of £8.6bn a year.

    Therefore, leaving the EU has, by this measure, saved over £300bn, not cost £40bn.

  8. Of course @NB ‘there’s no money if there’s no deal’ but there now appears to be a sketch of a deal. It includes money, UK subject to EU regulation.

  9. @Rory point is that while it *may make total sense* it violates a previous redline of pro-Brexit politicians, they don’t get even the symbolic win they wanted independent of the case for or against Brexit (and I remain strongly in the remain camp)

  10. Well, I do see what folks mean. There is a very leftist odor in the Guardian article as well as Gary’s summary. Everybody knows politics like this take time to sort out. Writing articles that take a victory lap because things are going slowly is sorta like writing an article about a Trump venue having empty seats. At best, they are a “so what.” At worst, they sound like petty barbs from folks who lost a vote. Because just like Trump, Brexit was the democratically elected will of the people.

  11. At least for consistency sake it’s clear Gary only gets his news from far left wing rags regardless of what country he’s in.

  12. I don’t know why “Remain” is being denounced as leftist or far left. Corbyn was hardly supportive of Remain.

  13. How can we tell anymore if someone is a Russian (or Chinese) Troll anymore? It seems like most of the commenters with harsh words and criticism might be. Russian Trolls disguised as right wingers usually start off with a volley of vitriolic, hateful and antagonistic attacks instead of mindful commentary …just my take on it. Thank you for your article Gary, yes it is just one position but from what I’ve been reading overall it seems correct.

  14. Dear Gary

    Here you go old chap, a vintage “Guardian” commercial that you should digest.

    What a pity it now only offers a blinkered and limited perspective.

    However that suits its readers juuussstttt fine…..

    “But its only when you get the whole picture you can fully understand whats going on”


  15. @Paul, So now everyone that doesn’t agree with the approved left narrative is a Russian troll? We are no longer mini Hitlers? Seems like a promotion to me. I would just like to point out that most of the commenters above were commenting on the article. You used your space to call people trolls and speculating the motivations of people that don’t agree with you must be hate.

  16. To summarize, this issue is complex and you’ve quoted a partisan source. Often times the “other side” of a political issue takes place on an entirely different playing field using different rules, so when you ask someone to engage you in the context of their opposition’s playing field you are setting up a faulty premise from which no discussion can proceed.

    Sometimes you have to listen with s completely open mind and not try to direct the conversation in order to understand why you’re wrong.

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