Brexit, Aviation and the Withdrawal 5

It’s like the sun rising at high latitudes.  Slowly the light starts to emerge.  Information on the direction EU-UK negotiations may take is slowly finding its way into the public domain.

The fact is that until the end of this year existing agreements between the European Union (EU) and third countries continue to be applicable to the UK.  That’s a great breathing space but it will be a short lived one.  Campaigners posturing and saying that a Brexit deal would deliver the: “exact same benefit” as EU membership – well that’s now defunct.   This week, political statements see an end to frictionless trade with EU Member States[1].  How much of this new posturing is for the detailed negotiations to come is unclear?  Even the roles of those doing the posturing may change as the UK’s Prime Minister (PM) will carry out what is expected to be a wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle.

Media talk of an “Australian Model” for post-Brexit arrangements is simply talk of a No Deal Brexit by another name.  The language used is aimed at calming those who still shudder at the thought of walking away from the table.  In fact, there are long-standing ties between the EU and Australia[2].  There’s a working arrangement between the respective aviation authorities, but it’s limited in scope[3].  In practice, in my experience there’s been good communication between the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia (CASA)[4].

On a completely different subject, but one that impacts aviation and travel markedly, there’s the subject of time.  The act of withdrawing from the EU means that the UK doesn’t have to follow its neighbours.  In March, last year, the European Parliament voted to stop changing the clocks every year.  EU Member States will need to choose to stick to what is now Winter Time or Summer Time.

On Sunday 31 March, I’ll be looking forward to putting my clock forward one hour.  But what will we (UK) do in 2021?  Will we continue with the same ritual every year or will we join our European colleagues and fix our time?  There are industry concerns that variations in the time differences between the UK and EU Member States adds complexity for UK businesses large and small[5].  It certainly would make scheduling aircraft routes more challenging.   Maybe this subject will be addressed in any new agreements on air connectivity or maybe not?

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-confirms-plans-to-introduce-import-controls

[2] https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/610/australia-and-eu_en

[3] https://www.easa.europa.eu/easa-and-you/international-cooperation/easa-by-country/countries/australia

[4] https://www.casa.gov.au/

[5] https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld5801/ldselect/ldeucom/15/1502.htm

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