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Brexit could lead to higher air fares: study
[LONDON] Flights between Britain and Europe could jump in price if the country votes to leave the European Union, according to a report commissioned by the Association of British Travel Agents released on Monday.
"Our assessment of the report's findings is that a vote to leave will lead to uncertainties and may lead to increased costs for travel businesses and the travelling public," said Mark Tanzer, chief executive of Abta, which represents 1,200 members, including airlines, tour operators and travel agencies.
"Our view is that the potential risks and downsides are not matched by an equal upside for the traveller," he added.
The report, written by financial services firm Deloitte, concluded that "low cost operators with smaller margins" could be hardest hit, threatening an end to budget flights to the EU, the main destination for British tourists.
It said that a Brexit - Britain's exit from the EU - "could jeopardise" the flow of trade and travel between Britain and mainland Europe, fuelled by the "high likelihood of uncertainty" during negotiations after the June 23 referendum.
"This could last until a replacement set of trading relations and regulations were in place, which could take several years," said the report.
A Brexit could also hit the value of the British pound, making foreign travel more expensive, it added.
Andrew Swaffield, boss of British-based budget carrier Monarch Airlines, warned that a Brexit "would most likely lead to higher air fares and fewer scheduled flights between the EU and UK." Around three-quarters of foreign holidays taken by Britons are in the EU and 63 percent of tourists in Britain come from the EU.
The top five tourist destinations for Britons are Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Greece.
Of those visiting Britain from the EU, the French are the most numerous, followed by Germans, Italians, Spaniards and Dutch.
Bookmakers currently have a vote to remain in the union as 1/2 favourite, but some polls have the two camps neck-and-neck.