Brexit and Aviation 40

There are some documents that are essential for the smooth operation of aviation.  When it comes to moving products, parts or components of aircraft around the world the Authorised Release Certificate is key.  This certificate must be trusted and accepted by those who receive it.  Even with an international framework that describes how this is done this acceptance is not automatic.

In Europe, the format of Authorised Release Certificates has been harmonised after decades of work.  In addition, work has been undertaken harmonise the instructions for completing these standard release forms.

The EASA Form 1[1] is the Authorised Release Certificate provided by a manufacturing organisation (Part-21 POA holder) for stating that a product, a part, or a component was manufactured in accordance with approved design data.

What that means is that the form accompanies an aircraft product, like say an engine, and if it’s not valid that product cannot be used.  Organisations doing maintenance, repair and overhaul must keep detailed records when working on an aircraft.

As an example, in Europe we may have a British manufactured aircraft engine being fitted to a Spanish registered aircraft in a German hanger by an engineer who holds a Dutch licence.   For this to happen in an approved manner the paperwork must be accurate, complete and valid.  If the EASA Form 1 coming with the British manufactured aircraft engine is not recognised, then the work described above cannot take place.

I’ve described this situation because there’s the possibility that in a full “No Deal” Brexit there will be no automatic recognition of a British issued EASA Form 1.

This is not the first time I’ve mentioned the EASA Form 1[2].   The reason for mentioning it again is that I became more acutely aware of this problem when visiting a major conference and exhibition in Amsterdam.  On Wednesday last, I chaired a one-hour panel discussion on: “Regulatory Changes and Challenges”.  This included a Policy Specialist (Brexit) from the UK CAA.   He described the preparatory work that’s being done and some of the differences in positions between UK published papers and EU published papers.  To date, the UK CAA and EASA are not in formal talks.  Both are ready to initiate technical discssions but this is being held up by the lack of clarity in relation to the withdrawl agreement (See exchange of letters from June/July).

I conclude that rash headlines that suggest a “No Deal” option is doable are way off the mark.  The regulatory maxim – trust but verify – must be satisfied one way or another.




Brexit and Airworthiness

Without going into the whole history of the last 50 years, there has been considerable success at harmonisation of aircraft certification rules in Europe.  Not only at a level of the requirements and specifications to be applied by the processes and procedures used too.

Now to consider a “no deal” outcome of the negotiations between the EU and UK.   This is the case where there are no working arrangements or informal agreements of any kind on the day after the assigned leaving date of leaving the European Union (EU).

In accordance with the Chicago Convention there are a series of certificates that are mandatory in international civil aviation.  Those concerning aircraft airworthiness are in the articles of the convention and its Annexes, most particularly Annex 8 and its associated manual.

The complete framework of European aviation regulation is compliant with these standards.  So, a European aircraft Type Certificate (TC) or a Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA) or an Airworthiness Release Tag (EASA Form 1) is recognised across the globe.  To build this European system, decades of cooperative working and confidence building were invested.  It’s is not only that the rules and procedures are agreed and correct, it’s also that their implementation delivers the desired results.

In a “no deal” outcome of the negotiations between the EU and UK the EU Regulations responsible for this regulatory system no longer apply in the UK.  Now, I have assumed that the technical content of these regulations will be adopted lock-stock and barrel into UK law.  Thus, the situation may be that the UK will not change any aspect of the rules and procedures for the issuance of a certificate on the day after Brexit.

The significant difference that arises is that the certificate issued will be a National certificate and not a European one.  Thus, it will not be automatically mutually accepted by EU Member States.  For existing certificates, the UK may choose to adopt all those that exist at the time of change.  Nevertheless, each one of these would need to be accepted as a UK National certificate.

The European system does validate certificates from “third countries” but this is usually done under the framework of a working arrangement or a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA).  If no such arrangement or agreement exists, then either there’s no recognition or an ad-hoc grandfathering of privileges might prevail.  Such ad-hoc measure might be time limited and contingent upon the conduct of an audit.

In any event the movement of aircraft and related products, parts and appliances between the UK and EU Member States will not be as free as it is now.   In the extreme worst case “no deal” there will be no movement.   This would be commercially catastrophic for all sides.

Speculating about ad-hoc or emergency measure is difficult.  One analogy that could shed light is that of the position of Turkey.  In 2009, the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) was disbanded.  Non-EU members of the JAA like; Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein joined the European system.  Turkey did not.  There is a working arrangement between the EASA and Turkish DGAC[1] but it is limited.   Relationships like these are subject to continuing negotiations which are not without frustration.



Brexit & Aviation 24

Like it or not, the holiday season will end.  Facts are incontrovertible.  The UK and EU have just a few months to finish a Withdrawal Agreement.  This is to allow for scrutiny and ratification in both the UK and the EU’s 27 Member States.  A Withdrawal Agreement must be signed in October and that’s just days away.

Let’s look at one more civil aviation issue.  The continuing airworthiness of a civil aircraft is dependent on the exchange of information between authorities and organisations across the globe.  This is flow of information is practically improved if working arrangements or bilateral agreements exist between Countries.  These are built on mutual interest, trust and a long-established familiarity with each other’s regulatory systems.

Yes, the duties of Countries under their obligations as signatories of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, dated 7th December 1944 (known as the “Chicago Convention”) exist but these are the basics and even then, those basics are often given scant regard.

In the 1970s, some European civil aviation authorities started to co-operate to produce common “Joint Airworthiness Requirements.”  Even before the 1990 Cyprus arrangement[1] in Europe, both the US and European authorities had been working to harmonise rules and reduce duplication of regulatory activities.

Today, a mature EU-US bilateral is in place.  So, if a British manufacture wishes to export an aviation product to the US it can do so with relative ease.  As per Subpart G 21.A.163 of Commission Regulation 748/2012, the holder of a production organisation approval may issue authorised release certificates (EASA Form 1) without further showing.   That EASA Form 1 is then recognised in the US.

The Treaty’s Article 50 clock stops at the end of March 2019.  It’s reasonable to ask the question; what Authorised Release Certificate will be used in the UK after that date and will it be recognised?

Anyone know?

All the loud yah-boo politics, so loved of Westminster, doesn’t offer an answer.


NOTE 1: The EASA Authorised Release Certificate is known as the EASA Form 1.

NOTE 2: The FAA Authorised Release Certificate is known as the FAA Form 8130 -3, Airworthiness Approval Tag[2].



[2] Reference:  FAA Order 8130.21H—Published August 1, 2013, Effective February 1, 2014.