Brexit & Aviation 73

Reading the arguments made by those most enthusiastic supporters of the UK’s Brexit, even at this moment of acute crisis, they paint a picture of a so called: “managed No-Deal Brexit”.  There’s an illusion that somehow the fragile contingency measure put in place to temporarily mitigate some the worst damage caused a No-Deal outcome makes everything OK.  I call them fragile because none of the measure or guidance put in place has been tested or even been evaluated in terms of costs and benefits or been subject to much independent scrutiny.

The House of Commons libary reports that the UK is a party to some 800 international agreements negotiated by the EU.  That’s a complex and detailed framework established over many decades.  The UK Government will need to replace them if Brexit is to take place.   As has been referred to in this Blog, there are a significant number of aviation agreements to address given the international nature of the business.

One example is that; as a result of Brexit, the UK will cease to be a part of the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA).  Yes, some contingency measures are drafted to mitigate potential damage to air travel between the EU and UK, but they hardly substitute for the existing agreement.  Less is less for the UK.

Under current aviation rules, the EU’s Open Skies Agreement allows member airlines, including those registered in the UK, to operate in each other’s countries.​  As an airline, if you want to benefit from the existing Open Skies agreement post-Brexit, you must be majority EU owned[1].  Less is less for the UK.

In the field of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul, British licenced engineers will be losing some of the privileges that they now enjoy.  Individuals may find a way round this by holding multiple licences but at their own expense, in their own time and with less flexibility.

The issues surrounding the recent civil air accidents, highlight the importance of getting aircraft certification right first time and fixing problems quickly.  In Europe, aircraft design and production organisations are required to hold approvals.  These European approvals are much valued and well recognised.  There’s no safety benefit in being required to hold multiple approvals from regulators both in the EU and in the UK.  This is just turning the clock back for the sake of it.

This week, much has changed but much has remained the same.  An extension to the Article 50 process does give the UK Government a little breathing space.  A letter, a formal instrument of the Article 50 extension, has been sent after UK Prime Minister May agreed with the EU.  That has activated Paragraph 3 of the Article 50.

Will UK Politicians come to a rational compromise?  That’s anyone’s guess.  The consequences of No-Deal are huge and shouldn’t be discounted.  The cost of the EU membership is small when compared with the cost of Brexit.  UK Politicains need to honestly say: Brexit will make you poorer, do you still want it?

Surely, there’s going to be a lot of updates to air law in the coming months[2].

[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/ryanair-brexit-uk-shareholders-airline-ownership-eu-airline-rules-no-deal-cliff-edge-a8817391.html

[2] https://www.aerosociety.com/events-calendar/brexit-what-now-for-aviation

 

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