So what next? Amongst the topics to be discussed by the UK and EU will be Transport and building our future relationship after we leave the EU. This does seem broad and general and late when considering the timescales involved. This comes after UK Government Ministers meet with aviation industry representatives to talk about Brexit. So, at least a view of national aviation interests has been heard by Ministers and officials.
It remains the case that a great number of people are in the dark over Brexit preparations. The “wait and see” approach is meaning that investments are being held off. It’s likely, a transition will come in time but its impossible to know its magnitude either for March 2019 or January 2021. So, for the moment, the general attitude seems to be: everyone for themselves. Make whatever contingency measure you like as it will not be the Brexit negotiators who will take responsibility for the outcome.
To follow-on with a calm note, I’ll put the question; who remembers 28 September 2003? It’s the date of an abrupt transition in the world of airworthiness. It was the time at which the EU Regulation (EC) No 1592/2002 on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) came into force.
To quote: “The Agency shall undertake the certification tasks incumbent upon it pursuant to Article 15 as from 28 September 2003.” In one day responsibility transitioned from a national authority to a European Agency. EASA had to carry out on behalf of Member States the functions and tasks of the State of Design, Manufacture or Registry when related to design approval.
Yes, I remember many dissenting voices clambering to say how that day would bring about chaos and disaster for civil aviation. Also, I must remark that a considerable number of them were politicians in the UK. Now, it was a bumpy ride but because of good will on the part of most authorities and organisations the transition worked.
So, what are a few of the differences between now and then?
- One: It took at least 20 years of planning and the whole Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) experience so that this first Basic Regulation could enter into force;
- Two: Happy or unhappy, everyone who needed was pointing in roughly the same direction 15 years ago;
- Three: International partners were well informed as to what was happening;
- Four: A sound legal framework defined roles and responsibilities and
- Five: Dispute resolution mechanisms were clear.
From all this, it can be concluded that it’s more than concerning that we (UK) are where we are, with less than a year to go to leaving the EU. The lack of clarity in direction and different Government departments with different agendas does not bode well for the next couple of years.