As the date of Britain’s exit from the European Union draws near, uncertainty grows surrounding the future of aviation, which hinges on a deal between the EU and the UK.
In efforts to avoid a potential backlash should there be a non-negotiated withdrawal on March 30, 2019, the UK government issued technical notices for aviation this week which state among others that current regulations, based on EU rules, will remain in place.
However, should the EU decide not to recognize UK standards, passengers transferring to other flights at EU airports might have to go through security checkpoints again regardless of being screened in the UK.
According to government notices, the ultimate preference is for the UK to remain part of the EASA aviation safety system following Brexit, but should there be no deal, “the UK Government would incorporate all current EU air transport safety regulations into UK law on 29th March 2019, allowing the CAA to continue to recognize safety licences and approvals issued through EASA for up to two years after this date”.
“We welcome the publication today of the government’s technical notices on the future of aviation regulation in the event that no agreement is reached on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union,” said a spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority, adding that “in the CAA’s no-deal planning, our absolute priority is to play our role in maintaining safety and maximizing continuity and stability for passengers and the aviation and aerospace industries”.
On its part, ACI Europe welcomed the fact that the UK would take actions aimed at minimizing disruptions to air connectivity as much as possible, while International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “The UK government’s papers on the air transport implications of a ‘no deal’ departure from the EU clearly exposes the extreme seriousness of what is at stake and underscores the huge amount of work that would be required to maintain vital air links. It is not just permission for flights to take off and land.”
In case of a no-deal Brexit, airlines that operate flights between the UK and EU “would lose the automatic right” to continue those services. Carriers would then have to seek individual permission to operate between the UK and EU. While the UK would grant permission for EU-registered airlines to continue operations within the country, the EU may decide not to do the same.
The government notes that it would be preferable to set up a multilateral deal with the whole of the EU, but would be willing to negotiate flight rights with individual countries within the union.
In the meantime, EU-licensed airlines would need to apply for a foreign carrier permit and a UK safety authorisation with the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
This would apply for carriers based in countries outside of the union that have bilateral agreements. These too would have to apply for permission to operate flights in the UK, though the government says “replacement arrangements” will be made before March 29, 2019.
Likewise, UK-based airlines would need to apply for the appropriate permissions to continue services to and from the EU.