Brexit & Aviation 60

Delay is the order of the day.  Now, there’s only 56 days remaining on the Brexit clock.  859 days since this all started with a June day.  One silver lining to the current dark Brexit cloud is that the UK Parliament is saying it won’t support a No-Deal Brexit.  However, there’s nothing to relieve the uncertainty hanging over the whole UK because even this expression of view is being ignored by the UK Government.  The UK Government says it will now redouble its efforts to get a deal.  Let’s hope redoubling is enough or surely it would be wiser to drop the whole project.

EU Council President Tusk, through his spokesman repeated that the Withdrawal Agreement on the table could not be renegotiated.   Next, the 9th February will see Prime Minister May’s 3rd attempt at a version of a Brexit deal supported by the UK Parliament.  Will it be 3 strikes and you are out?

In the latest information to UK citizens travelling to EU Member States every aspect of the advice is a degradation of exiting conditions.  Travelling post-Brexit, there’s only a downside for both passengers and airlines[1].

If No-Deal comes about there’s some highly optimistic commentators who believe that a “side agreement” between the EU and UK could cover some of the purely administrative content of the existing Withdrawal Agreement.  That said, even with this practical suggestion absolutely nothing is assured.

In the aviation regulatory world, it’s reported that the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is in the process of rebuilding itself after scalling back following the creation of EASA in September 2003.  The UK CAA has said it wants to stay within the EASA system after the UK exits the EU.  However, this possibility is looking unlikly for all the political reasons that are piling up every day.  The UK’s exit from the EU will have a severe impact on the UK aviation industry.

In civil aviation, large organisations have an Emergency Response Plan (ERP).   International standards recommend planning.  It’s normal, once a plan is in place to conduct an exercise to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of its process and it stands up to rigorous testing.   I’ve been part of several such exercises in Europe.  My experience is that even with the most elegant plan, carefully prepared, the real-life impact of using it is often incredibly revealing.  Situations are constantly evolving, and all parties must move rapidly in order to anticipate risks and adapt accordingly.  Often communication and behaviours turn out differently than expected.

Yes, on both sides preparations are being made for the worst case No-Deal scenario, but they will all be untested.  If more than one crisis occurs at any one time more than double the effort is needed to resolve the situation.   The implementation of any such No Deal plan will not be a matter for one organisation but a continent of 500 million people.   If anyone thinks that will go smoothly, I just have to say that they have no experience of the real world.

[1] https://www.aerosociety.com/news/no-deal-no-flights/

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