Tuesday, 23 July draws closer and the naming of a new UK Conservative Party leader and subsequently a new UK Prime Minister (PM). It seems increasingly likely that the Conservative Party is going through the motions with only one outcome on the table: Mr Johnson gets selected and then pushes, in whatever ways possible, to get the UK to leave the European Union (EU) by Halloween this year. Little, if anything is new as repetitious and shallow arguments get thrown around like confetti for the bride of Frankenstein.
In the early months of this year there was a flurry of detailed articles written about how aviation would be affected if the UK left the EU with or without a deal. The common expectation was that the transition would start at the end of March. Since then a few have taken the time to update their positions but most of what was written remains motionlessness. Without a sense of political direction advancing policy positions is a precarious activity. However, a high-level desire to see liberal aviation market access arrangements continue does seem to exit within both UK and EU. To that extent, a No-Deal Brexit outcome represents a big step backwards for all Europeans.
Although it’s not relevant to international air travel, it’s notable that British media interviews continue to focus on The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The GATT was the precursor to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Article 24 is being cited as a universal solution to objections to a No-Deal Brexit. However, this proposition has been debunked multiple times and doesn’t stand scrutiny.
In recent weeks, talk of international companies planning relocate their operations to other parts of Europe has not phased the populist proponents of Brexit. Thus, it’s vital for businesses to plan for a No-Deal Brexit where only temporary provisions will exist between the UK and EU. However, reports show that the UK is still not prepared for a No-Deal Brexit in October.
For aircraft design and maintenance and pilots and cabin crew, there may be no sustained mutual recognition between the EU and the UK for aviation licences, approvals and certificates. In addition, the UK will no longer benefit from EU Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreements (BASAs).
Mounting concerns are being voiced about the prospect of a No-Deal Brexit and the subsequent impact on aviation and the traveling public. To date, Conservative and Labour Party leaders would rather sweep such concerns under the carpet.
The online help from the UK Government, the European Commission (EC) and on the CAA and EASA Brexit microsites remain the best available information.