UK Votes to Delay Brexit Deadline

British flag being cut by scissors from the European union flag
Photo by egal/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

The UK Parliament has voted to extend the Brexit deadline in the last of three major votes on the issue that had been scheduled to take place this week. The deadline had originally been set for March 29. 

The New York Times reports that the latest vote follows an attempt by lawmakers to wrest control of the Brexit process from UK Prime Minister Theresa May, which was defeated by just two votes. After that, lawmakers voted in favor of asking the European Union (EU) to delay the March 29 deadline, by a 412 to 202 margin. That means May will request the postponement when she meets with EU leaders next week in Brussels

Earlier this week, UK lawmakers had voted to reject the Brexit deal May had negotiated with the EU for a second time. On Wednesday, lawmakers also rejected a plan for the UK to leave the EU with no deal in place, according to CNBC

Following this week’s series of votes, what happens next will depend on the meeting between May and the EU in which she requests the deadline extension. In the meantime, lawmakers in the UK, EU and United States have all signed agreements to continue air travel regardless of the outcome, and new research released this week has also pointed to the travel sector’s resilience in the face of Brexit uncertainty. 

The UK and the EU signed a deal to allow flights to continue during a no-deal Brexit earlier this month, and in November, the UK and the United States signed an “open skies” agreement that will govern air travel between the two countries post-Brexit. That deal replaces the existing aviation agreement between the EU and the U.S. with respect to the UK, guaranteeing the continuation of transatlantic travel routes. 

Additionally, in a new study of UK travelers by MMGY Global, Millennials were particularly optimistic on how Brexit relates to travel, planning to take 40 percent more trips this year and the majority believing that any impact on passport control lines, exchange rates and airline fares would be more positive than negative. 

Additionally, recent research from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) suggests that the travel and tourism industry could see major growth post-Brexit, potentially helping to drive the UK’s economic recovery. That is because the UK travel industry’s growth rate in 2018, at 1 percent, was well below the worldwide average of 3.9 percent, which the WTTC attributed to uncertainty over the Brexit deal. Since the growth rate has been so low, there is a great deal of potential for growth once Brexit details are finalized. 

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