Aviation & Brexit 98

It was all the way back on 29 March 2017 that the United Kingdom (UK) submitted the notification of its intention to withdraw from the European Union (EU).  Today, on 29 August 2019 the UK remains an EU Member State.

1162 days since the 2016 referendum.  63 days until the UK plans to withdraw.

The new UK Prime Minister faces the same constraints as his predecessor but is approaching withdrawal from the EU in a different way.  Mentioning the UK Government’s constitutional chicanery, to keep the UK Parliament quiet, is not what I’m going to do here.  That subject is so widely covered everywhere else.  It has left most people astonished.

It seems what we have now is not a game of chess between the UK and EU where logical rules prevail.  This is more like a game of high stakes Poker[1].  The problems with such an approach to international relations is the inevitable escalation that’s a part of the process.   Not only that but the inability or impossibility of a nation State and its politicians to maintain a Poker face.

In civil aviation, the reality is that we need logical rules to keep the planes flying.  It’s a complex technical system.  If the UK falls out of EU based regulatory systems for parts, products[2], organisations and personnel licences a massive amount of work will need to be done.  No amount of bluff can substitute for demonstrated competence.  Or if it does substitute then safety, security and sound business can be severally compromised.  International insurers will not cover a plane, pilot or engineer that doesn’t have a recognised and respected regulatory certification or approval.

At this unfortunate hiatus in the Brexit process a lot of people are pacing the floor wondering what will happen next and what contingency measure to best take.  Sound advice is in short supply.  Official sources often hedge their bets.

In the end, given that both the UK and the EU take great pride in what they do to be competent, there will have to be a return to a form of mutual respect and recognition.  If Brexit is overturned that should be straightforward.  If Brexit goes ahead with a withdrawal agreement and the UK becomes a third country[3] that should be possible.  However, if a No Deal or a disorderly outcome prevails all bets are off.

[1] https://bicyclecards.com/how-to-play/basics-of-poker/

[2]  “product” means an aircraft, engine or propeller.

[3] A third country is a country not member of the EU.

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