Hearing hard core Brexiters herald statements from IAG S.A. about working though Brexit is strange to say the least. By the way, if you’ve never heard of them the International Airlines Group was created in 2011, is one of the world’s largest airline groups and includes British Airways. It’s a Spanish registered company with shares traded on the London and Spanish Stock Exchanges. IAG operational headquarters is in London.
At the point of the 2016 UK referendum IAG shares took a hit. Ever since then there has been a consistent recovery in their position. Brexit, or no Brexit they are well placed on both sides of the fence. Today, their airlines have Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) in the EU. After the end of March next year its likely those AOCs will remain unchanged. The basis for their UK operators validity will shift from European Regulation to National Legislation.
Despite the high level of integration of the European aviation market place there is no single European registry of aircraft. Each ICAO Contracting State has its own aircraft registry.
However, to fly into the EU all non-EU aeroplane operators must have a Third Country Operators (TCO) authorisation. This is a way of ensuring that non-EU aeroplane operators are compliant with all applicable technical standards of the Annexes to the Chicago Convention.
In the EU the authorities undertake ramp inspections of aeroplanes in operation.
Naturally, after the end of March next year aeroplane operators who transition from being EU operators to non-EU aeroplane operators will need a TCO authorisation. In theory, this should be an administrative matter since the transitioning operators already meet the applicable standards.
The TCO authorisation process can require that an audit be performed at the operational premises of the aeroplane operator. This is one of the tasks undertaken by the European Agency EASA.
It’s worth noting that the TCO only considers the safety-related part of foreign operator assessment, whereas operating permits (commercial traffic rights) are issued by individual EU Member States. In many Brexit articles these often a confusion between safety related rules and commercial related rules. It’s generally the case that operating permits are not granted unless the TCO is in place first.
So, far from the Brexiters cries of: “take back control” the result of all this is that our interdependence across Europe changes but remains. And for very good reasons too.
 Commission Regulation (EU) No 452/2014 (the ‘TCO Regulation’)