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Air and Maritime Transport

1. Air Transport

Will I be able to carry on flying between the United Kingdom and Spain as from 1 February? I have already bought my tickets; will I have any problem using them?

As from 1 January, you will be able to carry on flying between the United Kingdom (UK) and Spain as to date. If you have purchased tickets to travel as from this date you will not need to do anything special, although the rights offered to passengers may suffer some modifications depending on the airline with which you travel and the origin of the flight. Accordingly, we recommend that you contact your airline or travel agency to receive information on any eventuality. At any event, passengers on flights departing from any airport in the European Union (EU), regardless of whether the destination is in the UK, will continue to enjoy the same rights as to date.

Will all European airlines be able to continue operating? And those in the UK?

Yes, all airlines that had been operating between the EU and the UK until now will be able to continue operating, as well as European Airlines within the EU.

Some European companies will have had to make certain adaptations due to Brexit, but these changes should have been made during the Transition Period that ends on 31 December 2020, and hence after that date they should all be in a position to continue complying with EU law and thus operate within the EU. You, as a passenger, should not detect any changes in this regard.

As a passenger, will I note any changes when flying to the UK?

As from 1 January 2021, passengers flying to or from the UK will note some minor changes in passport and customs control procedures. You may require the authorities to stamp your passport, and British nationals will have to use the specific non-EEA country queues to go through passport controls. This information tends to be published on the web pages of airports or airlines.

Furthermore, if you travel with pets, particularly when travelling from the UK, you must bear in mind the requirements for entry into Spain, and remember that you can only arrive with pets at certain airports enabled to that end. We recommend that you visit the web page of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for information of the updated requirements from time to time, and of the list of airports you may arrive at.

I plan to travel to an international destination after 1 January with a stopover at an airport in the UK. Will I face any problems?

In principle, you will be able to continue to travel without any problems; however, we recommend you consult the web page of the British Government or ask your airline or travel agent sufficiently in advance, in case the UK demands any additional formalities.

I am a citizen of one of the following countries: AFGHANISTAN, BANGLADESH, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, ERITREA, ETHIOPIA, GHANA, IRAN, IRAQ, NIGERIA, PAKISTAN, SOMALIA and SRI LANKA, and I plan to travel to the UK after 1 January with a stopover at a Spanish airport. Will I have to undergo any special procedure?

As from 1 January, nationals of the countries mentioned above that wish to travel to the UK with a stopover at an airport in the European Union must hold an airport transit visa. To obtain one, they should go to the closest consulate of the transit country.

Following Brexit and as a passenger, will I continue to enjoy the same rights as to date for air transport?

As from 2021, flights that depart from the UK will be subject to the rules on user protection of that country and if you also fly with a European Union airline to an airport in the EU, you will continue to enjoy the rights guaranteed under EU law. You can find these rights on the web page of the State Air Safety Agency, but we would recommend that you also consult your airline or travel agent. At any event, passengers with flights departing from any EU airport regardless of whether their destination is in the UK or not will continue to enjoy the same rights as to date.

I am travelling from Spain to the UK and my flight suffers a delay or cancellation. Can I claim assistance, compensation, etc. under EU law on the protection of the rights of users of air transport (Regulation EC no. 261/2004)?

Yes, you can. Given that the flight departs from a Spanish airport, EU law will continue to apply regardless of the airline. This will not change on 1 January.

On my return flight - I am travelling from the UK to Spain - my flight suffers a delay or cancellation. Can I claim assistance, compensation, etc. under EU law on the protection of the rights of users of air transport (Regulation EC no. 261/2004)?

As from 1 January, the rights of passengers on flights that depart from the UK towards the EU will depend on the nationality of the airline. If the company is British or from outside of the EU, the rights will be those in force in the UK. If the airline if European, the user will be subject to the application of EU law.

I am a British citizen and currently resident in the Canary Islands/Balearic Islands. Will I be able to continue benefitting from the air transport discounts when travelling between islands or to the mainland?

As from 1 January, British citizens that are resident in the territories of the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Ceuta or Melilla, who are not family members of residents of the European Economic Area or Switzerland may only continue to enjoy the transport subsidies of residents if they hold the status of a long-term resident.

2. Maritime Transport

In accordance with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK, following the latter's withdrawal, the following consequences stemming from its status as a third country in the field of the merchant navy are noteworthy as from 1 January 2021:

  • British citizens may not continue to benefit from the recognition of their licence to skipper recreational craft under a Spanish flag until such time as Royal Decree 875/2014, of 10 October, is amended, to stipulate that sailing licences for recreational craft include those from the UK on the list of third countries provided for in Annex IX thereto
  • Cabotage maritime navigation services with the UK will be affected because Council Regulation (EEC) No. 3577/92, applying the principle of the free provision of services to maritime transport within Member States (maritime cabotage) will cease to apply to the UK. Pursuant to this Regulation, regular and non-regular cabotage navigation is reserved for vessels under a Spanish or EU flag.
  • Furthermore, EU Member States may no longer issue the exemption from information on maritime protection to UK vessels prior to reaching an EU port, as provided for in Article 6 of Regulation EC 725/2004, of 31 March 2004, on improving protection for vessels and port installations.
  • Aptitude certificates for sailors issued by the UK will remain valid until their expiry. The recognition of professional qualifications on British maritime matters will only be possible once recognised by the EU and a bilateral agreement is signed on the recognition of qualifications.
  • Recreational craft under the British flag with a length of less than 14 metres will also lose their current capacity to engage in nautical rental activities.
  • As regards the import and sale of recreational craft, jet skis and engines from third countries to the EU, Directive 2013/53/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 establishes the mechanism for European importers to carry out a post-factory evaluation that allows the sale of these products after obtaining the CE marking.

Non official translation


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