British holidaymakers have responded angrily after a Romanian airline cancelled flights from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, reportedly due to uncertainty over Brexit.
Dozens of passengers expecting to fly to Rome and Alicante complained that their flights with Blue Air had been cancelled on Wednesday night but tickets were still available to buy online.
A spokesman for John Lennon Airport said the “Brexit impasse” had left the carrier “unable to receive the necessary clarity” around its ability to operate flights between the UK and countries other than Romania.
While Blue Air will continue to operate flights between the two countries, services from the UK to any other country could be affected if the UK leaves the EU without a continuation of current EU legislation.
Blue Air flights between Luton and Turin are also expected to be affected.
We can confirm that Bucharest and Bacau from Liverpool can be purchased from the end of March 2019. We regret that you will need to speak directly to Blue Air for further information on other routes.
— Liverpool Airport (@LPL_Airport) February 14, 2019
Blue Air also did not respond to requests for comment but the airline’s official Twitter account has blocked at least one angry customer on the social network.
The man, who declined to give his name, said he received an email on Wednesday saying his flight to Rome on March 6 had been cancelled for “operational reasons”.
“On replying asking for a refund I got an automated response which asked to fill in a form which I think was in Romanian,” he told the Press Association.
Seats for the flight are still available to buy online.
Tickets for an Alitalia flight to Rome “operated by Blue Air”, listed to depart at exactly the same time, are also available but for more than double the price.
The man continued: “It was my Xmas present and I go on my birthday so I need to get there somehow, even if it means I’ve now spent an extra £160 to get there and took another day off work.”
So @BlueAirWeb you can tweet about valentine's but not respond to myself about my flight in march that you've just cancelled?
— Jodi 🐢 (@_wixxxs95) February 14, 2019
Sara Kavanagh, 27, was due to fly to Rome for her wedding anniversary on March 18 but also received a cancellation email.
The marketing manager from Manchester said: “We’ve looked online and they have two other flights available but for three times the price we paid in January.
“My flights were before March 29 so really Brexit shouldn’t be an issue here,” she added.
Daniel Northover, 46, from Liverpool, was due to fly with Blue Air to Alicante for his mother’s birthday on March 2 but has had to find new flights after his were cancelled.
He said: “I can understand it but we haven’t left yet… if their response is true, it’s potentially the first clear manifestation of Project Fear being identifiably real.”
A spokesman for John Lennon Airport said: “Blue Air has successfully operated its based aircraft for two years in Liverpool serving a wide range of routes.
“Unfortunately, as a Romanian Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holder, the current Brexit impasse means that the carrier has been unable to receive the necessary clarity regarding their ability to operate seventh freedom services which are currently possible under EU Open Skies.
“The carrier will continue to serve Liverpool John Lennon Airport and will increase flights this summer to Bucharest and Bacau.”
Seventh freedom services under the EU Open Skies agreement refer to flights between countries which are not an airline’s home country.
A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “We are committed to ensuring that flights between the UK and EU continue, and the European Commission has published a proposal to make sure this happens.
“This clearly shows that in the event of no deal, both sides are committed to maintaining connectivity.”