One of the harshest years in modern civil aviation history has ended. Looking for positive news in this New Year takes some effort. In fact, with the extra lock-down measures and travel banned the situation appears to be getting worse and not better. Worldwide COVID-19 fatalities have passed 2.1 million. Here in the UK the winter situation is looking grim. In terms of cases of COVID-19 only US, Brazil, Russia and India have more than the UK. In terms of fatalities from COVID-19 only US, Brazil, India and Mexico have more than the UK.
Even in just 3-weeks a lot has been written about Aviation and the new BREXIT EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). Having read many of the public pronouncements available, it’s evident that the complexity of the TCA means there’s a huge amount to be learned and will be learned in its application. The jury is out as to the level of support that exists for the TCA.
Worldwide COVID-19 deaths have now topped 1.9 million. Uncertainty continues to cripple civil aviation. The lack of joined-up working across the globe is disappointing to say the least. Different actions and support package of varying degrees are confusing and inconsistent. Many self-inflicted obstacles have led to aircraft operators burning up cash at an alarming rate. No one denies that the spread of COVID-19 is one of the biggest challenges to face all types of transport systems, but governments have created as many problems as they have solved. Serious concerns about new variants of COVID-19 are leading to additional travel restrictions.
Cargo operators and airports are stepping up to distribute the vaccines for COVID-19. Aviation will continue to play a vital role in that distribution.
The UK has now left the European Union (EU), and the transitional period has expired. The UK Government will be publishing UK aviation law (including retained EU law) on the website www.legislation.gov.uk in due course. The new deal that has been struck has several appendixes but overall, it’s quite thin.
EU aviation regulations (hard law) are often accompanied by Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC), Guidance Material (GM), Certification Specifications (CS) and other technical information (soft law). For the time being the versions of AMC, GM, CSs and other technical information in force on 31 December 2020, remain policy in the UK. In time one would expect to see a British aviation publication system that maintains these as new national documents.
Now, the prospect of divergence means that readers should check both national and EU sources to get a full picture of the relevant material for civil aviation in the European region. At this moment there are no administrative procedures for the harmonisation of technical requirements between the UK and EU. Fortunately, both parties start from a harmonised position. How long that will last is anyones guess.
The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement announced on 24 December 2020 (TCA) is one hell of a lot better than the often threatened No-Deal outcome between the parties. However, it’s a long way from the comprehensive aviation and air transport agreement that industry and informed commentators, and indeed the EU-UK Political Declaration said was needed. The TCA foresees cooperation between the EU and UK, but a lot remains to be done. There’s a great deal of committee work to come. It’s important to continue to stay alert for regulatory changes that are to come.