More Brexit worries surround the aviation industry, with Ryanair saying it will have to halt flights from the UK for weeks or months if Theresa May does not seal an early bilateral Brexit deal on international aviation. And the Spanish owner of Heathrow airport says uncertainty over the UK's exit from the EU has put a halt on future UK investment deals.
UPDATE: Julian Bray writes: Since the broadcast went out, the telephone has been ringing off the hook, over my 'outrageous' suggestion, that like any divorce settlement, the money has to be sorted out, as part of the overall deal.
I said that, as the UK is currently the second largest contributor to the EU pot (Germany being in pole position); we should seriously consider immediately placing our monthly EU contributions - always paid in on time - into a suspense client account (ie escrow), in order to clarify some of the thinking within the EU, and to 'nip in the bud' any idea that the UK owes the EU an exit penalty. A close look at the Article 50 obligations say nothing of the sort. A settlement...
'taking account of the framework of future relationships.'
Consider that some 3million EU citizens are currently in the UK (many remitting funds back home....) as opposed to 1million UK citizens scattered throughout the 27 EU membership countries. Half of the EU membership do not currently contribute a surplus ie they take out as much, or far more than they contribute.
The EU members shouting loudest for the UK 'to be punished' include those who most enjoy the EU largess, and also a French socialist MEP who was particularly vitriolic about the UK. I just happened to catch her tirade on the BBC Parliament Channel, ranting to an almost empty EU chamber.
We also have a problem with the EU negotiating structure with a former French foreign minister Michel Barnier appointed as the chief negotiator. M.Barier is in my book, chiefly after the money first and any trade deal later. Hence my idea to suspend the prompt payments in the EU, until M.Barnier sees reason and whips his 27 members into line so that negotiations on all front can be rapidly progressed and agreed by all.
Simply the EU knows that without the UK contribution the EU full ahead 'gravy train' will be no more. It will collapse within months, literally falling over the cliff edge.
The talk about UK future obligations post brexit, presupposes the EU is on top of its accounting. It isn't, and frankly never has been. No financial director in a major commercial firm would agree a financial settlement unless all the books are fully opened and the contents properly audited. The EU books are a shambles, and on that basis alone, how can the EU ever claim the UK has a continuing financial obligation? Where have the past 44 years UK contributions been spent? Precious little inside the UK.
We also have to consider the quality of our own Brexit negotiating team including ex SAS David Davis MP as secretary, but those supporting him include very few experienced negotiators, simply former PM David Cameron (not for a minute thinking we would actually vote to leave the EU) carried out a 'slash and burn operation' in Whitehall.
The experienced battle hardened trade and political negotiators within the Civil service left in droves.
A closer inspection of the brexit team includes the likes of Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson, of 'mps expenses' fame.
Nursing a much reduced majority, and possibly considering his own exit from politics at the next election. Mr Jackson has picked many a fight with his own Conservative led Peterborough City Council, so what is he likely to come up with against the French and Germans?
Then there is the House of Lords report saying we owe nothing post Brexit and could walk away. The EU takes a different view ( they would, wouldn't they? ) and puts the UK tab ( less service?) at around 65billion euros.
Which brings us neatly back to the idea of putting any future payments into an escrow account, effectively pulling the rug from under the EU hawks such as Guy Verhofstadt, recognisable by his decidedly odd haircut, and a easy target for the former UKIP leader and MEP Nigel Farage..
Mrs May is also likely to find that her own support within her party will be sorely tested, as whatever deal she manages to negotiate (or not) will come with expensive strings.
This brexit lark is proving to be far more expensive than any one ever thought. but with less than 2 years to tie it all up. The UK needs all the financial leverage and tactical negotiating skills it can muster. Trouble is those future negotiators are still at primary school, as we all will be competing for places in the Happy Daze Retirement Care Home, with just a top slice of the exit work actually agreed, after all the EU members have to sign it off, and that is like putting 27 feral cats into a sack.
Our grandchildren clearly have a fascinating future ahead of them.
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com