The UK’s aviation regulator has given details of the work it is undertaking in the event of a “disorderly” Brexit, where the UK leaves the European Union (EU) without an agreed deal between the two parties.

Concerns have been widely expressed that such an eventuality threatens a cessation of air services between the UK and the other 27 EU nations. Additionally, it raises the prospect of maintenance operations carried out in the UK or aviation components made in the UK not being approved or accepted because the UK will have left the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

In a document posted on its website, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the UK government “has been clear that as the UK exits the EU, its aim is to ensure continued transport connectivity.”

It noted that in June, the UK government set out its desire to secure liberal aviation market access arrangements, including the need to explore terms of participation in EASA.

The government has made clear that an amicable, agreed departure from the EU is in both sides’ interests: “People right across Europe benefit from liberal aviation market access, whether traveling for business or for leisure—and starting from a position of regulatory alignment.”

In its posting, the CAA said, “The UK government does not want or expect a scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without a deal. However, the government has also publicly said that it has a duty to plan for the unlikely scenario in which no mutually satisfactory deal can be reached.

“The CAA has been clear … that we consider that the most positive outcome for UK consumers and the aviation industry would be one where the UK has continued participation within the EASA system and for existing systems of mutual recognition between the UK and EASA member states to remain.”

If there is a non-negotiated exit in March 2019, the CAA said it has assumed that

the UK adopts all European aviation laws at the point of exit and the UK continues to mirror EU aviation regulations for at least a two-year period.

It also assumes the UK is no longer included in EU-level bilateral aviation safety agreements and that there is no mutual recognition agreement between the EU and the UK for aviation licenses, approvals and certificates.

UK-issued EASA licenses and approvals would no longer be recognized in the EU after the UK’s departure. 

 “Under a non-negotiated withdrawal scenario, a number of regulatory processes will need to be brought back within the UK system so that we are able to continue to regulate the UK aviation industry. This means that our preparatory work includes adjusting existing systems so that they could continue to work in exactly the same way as now—but with the UK government and the CAA fulfilling regulatory functions independently of the EU.

“Within this scenario, translating EU aviation law into UK law will require the CAA to take on new functions, some of which are currently delivered by EASA. The CAA has started to implement plans to fulfill these functions should they be needed following the UK’s departure from the EU.”

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com