No week goes by without Brexit developments. This week has been no exception for European aviation and aerospace. In the background there’s been the UK Conservative Party conference in Birmingham. All that has been revealed is that we are still in limbo land or a limbo in the air, as one might say.
The UK Government technical papers for a Brexit ‘No Deal’ scenario for Aviation Safety, Flights and Aviation Security have been out for several days. The variety of different commentaries ranges from the don’t bother – this will never happen to the downright cataclysmic grounding of all flights.
Nevertheless, the impact of a “no deal” scenario is still being understated because of the long-term regional repercussions. The lines on the map that divide up airspace in Europe are changing. If other nations, see that we can not deal with that reality why would they open their skies to us?
On the rules for slot allocation at airports, the current rules for the allocation should remain unchanged in the event of “no deal”. However, a proposed “recast” of the current EU Slot Regulation is planned. A problem arises in that the UK will not have a say on future EU legislation to create a market for slots and this has its own downside.
On the profesional aviation personnel side, concerned aircraft engineers are seeking information about a non-negotiated EU exit. British issued Licenses that are now valid in the EASA Member States, will not be valid in those States as of midnight (00h00) on 29 March 2019 unless a deal is done.
Now the EU institutions are engaged in identifying and putting in place new preparedness measures in anticipation of Brexit. This week it is worth taking note that EASA has started to process applications for Third Country approvals from existing UK approval holders. There’s additional administration and costs but at least organisations holding recognised approvals have a pathway to retaining those approvals.
On a subject that may at first glance seem unrelated the European Aerospace Associations have announced a Safety Management System (SMS) Industry Standard. Here we can see the practical advantages of having a common rulebook.
During my time at the UK CAA, I was a member of the Prospect Union (Formerly IPMS). I’m pleased to see their recent publication on the future of aviation and Brexit “safety and resilience – not a race to the bottom”. One of their recommendations is new to me and I must admit the idea hadn’t occurred to me before. It is “breaking up the Civil Aviation Authority and establishing a new UK Aviation Safety Agency” thus further separating the functions of economic regulation and safety regulation. Somehow, I don’t think that’s the biggest concern just now.