For the British politician the 31st January 2020 is a big event. For most people in employment, the Brexit confusion and uncertainty continues at least for another 11 months. Social Media is a good indication of the conversations people in aviation employment are having. One question raised yesterday has been raised many times: After Brexit will the EASA licences that were obtained in the UK still be valid?
Despite the name, these mandatory licences are not issued by EASA in Cologne but issued by European Union (EU) Member States applying European rules. National Aviation Authorities (NAAs) have this responsibility. The European system requires EASA and the NAAs to work together. In order to get an EASA Part-66 AML (Aircraft Maintenance License), an applicant needs to show a basic knowledge in relevant aviation subjects.
Having common rules throughout EASA Member States means that they accept an EASA licence that is granted by one of those States. In addition, States across the globe, who have a relationship with the EU can choose to accept an EASA licence. That’s what happens in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where most of the world’s Airbus A380 aircraft are based, for example.
So, the EU and the UK are entering a transition period during which UK aviation will continue to participate in the EASA systems. That means compliance with EU regulations while the longer-term EU-UK aviation relationship is worked out. Currently the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) website has a statement:
Engineers transferring their Part-66 licence to other Member States: While the CAA will continue to accept and process Part 66 transfer applications under existing EASA transfer arrangements until the UK leaves the EU, the procedures adopted by the receiving NAA and recognised validity of the licence during the transfer process may vary amongst EU member states. Applicants who require continuity of validity throughout the transfer process are therefore advised to apply at least 3 months prior to Exit Day and should also consider engaging with their intended receiving NAA to identify any potential issues.
Clearly, there are numerous combinations and permutations of situations that can arise for engineers working on aircraft. Given the history of licencing it’s highly likely that an arrangement will be worked out for next year, 2021. For now, each individual aircraft engineer needs to check their situation dependent on where they are working and on what aircraft they are working on, at what time.
This will put extra stress on global regulatory oversight activities too.