UK sources differ on what happens on March 29
CAA enters into agreement which points to independence post 3/29
NYT argues for need to clarify
The BREXIT controversy involves more than the UK (CAA) and the EU (EASA); for the authorities (licenses, airline AOCs, TCs/PCs, MRO, etc.) issued by these two sovereigns are affected and international relationships may have to change. As the deadline approaches, the quandary grows, and these two stories provide (i) an illustration of the possible post BREXIT impacts and (ii) an indication that the UK CAA is anticipating its independence. March 29, 2019 is the current transition date.
Not surprisingly, while there are documents (above), there is debate about what their significance is. The SKYnews reporter offers an ominous interpretation:
The documents warn that thousands of aviation licences, ratings and certificates for pilots and aircraft issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) would have to be reissued if there is a “no-deal” Brexit, which would cost millions.
Not all 35,000 licenses would need to be reissued, but many EasyJet pilots are already being shifted to Austrian licenses.
In a separate leak, an internal CAA email sent last month asks whether staff are prepared to train to upskill in “airworthiness design and certification” as the organisation braces for the consequences of Brexit.
The documents paint a picture of an organisation scrambling to make the necessary preparations for a no-deal Brexit and the UK dropping out of the aviation single market altogether.
Having to replace existing documents with new CAA only paper is primarily a ministerial task; while costly, it can be accomplished relatively quickly.
The second warning—retaining staff in airworthiness disciplines—is not. CAA’s competence in determining the airworthiness of an aircraft design requires time and if the staff skill is absent, this deficiency could result in loss of international recognition. The UK CAA has multiple agreements with other authorities which facilitate the acceptance of aircraft designs; those “peer” organizations will carefully scrutinize this remedial education.
Not surprisingly with BREXIT, the SKYnews view of this issue is not subscribed by everyone.
British aviation chiefs deny report that the UK will have to spend millions of pounds reissuing thousands of pilot licences after Brexit if the country crashes out of the EU without a deal
But the CAA strongly denied the report – and insists that there will be no sudden cliff edge where licences have to be reissued.
Instead, documents will just be reissued gradually over time costing £40 each, the CAA added.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has asked its staff to take on extra training as they scramble to try to prepare for Brexit.
The advice to stakeholders issued by the CAA’s head of flight operations, Captain Rob Bishton, says: ‘If the UK no longer continues as an EASA member, UK issued licences, ratings and certificates may continue to display EASA references beyond 29 March.
‘In this instance, licences, ratings and certificates will be reissued by the UK CAA.’
Former head of flight operations Captain Mike Vivian told Sky News: ‘The CAA has to ramp up the staff that it previously had to discharge these tasks before they were given over to EASA – and that might take some time
As of 29 March next year the European Aviation rules and certification and all the rest that go with it cease overnight.
Mark Swan, Group Director of Safety and Airspace Regulation at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said the report is ‘misleading’ as pilot licences would remain valid for use on UK-registered aircraft as Britain is a signatory to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Chicago Convention.
He added: ‘Our licences are internationally recognised – including by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) – both now and after 29 March 2019.
‘The CAA will continue to issue and reissue pilots’ licences when they are lost, damaged, when details need to be changed or pilots’ privileges updated as we do now.
‘Over time, this would include removing references to EASA – a purely cosmetic change. There will be no requirement for licences to be re-issued for any other reason meaning that there will be no change to this process.
‘The CAA also strongly refutes any suggestion that we are concerned about our ability to provide safety oversight to the UK aviation industry should no-deal be reached between the UK and the EU. The safety of passengers, crew and those on the ground remains our absolute priority and nothing has changed in this respect.’
He added: ‘As a responsible regulator, the CAA has been planning for all eventualities in the negotiations, including that of a ‘no-deal’, for some time.
‘Our planning and contingency is advanced, and we continue to work closely with the Government to prepare the industry for all scenarios.’
Clearly, there is considerable confusion on this issue and uncertainty on these issues may well disrupt international aviation.
The prominence of this problem has risen sufficiently to capture the attention of The New York Times:
LONDON — Britain’s aerospace trade body ADS has written to the European Commission for the second time in four months to urge it once again to allow British and European airline regulators to begin technical planning for Brexit.
Aviation is one sector that could be most severely impacted by Brexit, as there is no default fallback option for the industry if there is no agreement on future relations after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.
ADS said in a letter that bilateral discussions between the UK Civil Aviation Agency and European Aviation Safety Agency EASA were needed to ensure passenger safety, amongst other things. It said technical bilateral talks had already been held between the CAA and regulators in the U.S., Canada and Brazil.
“As long as the Commission blocks similar bilateral technical discussions between the CAA and EASA, it fosters uncertainty and risks legal liability, insurance and passenger safety issues for the global aviation and aerospace industry,” ADS said in a letter addressed to the European Commission.
Separately on Tuesday, Sky News reported that the CAA is making plans to reissue pilot licences and other related documents if the UK is no longer part of EASA after Brexit.
This is obviously a political football within the UK and the antagonists appear to be intransigent, unwilling to move off of the respective principles; while it is clear that aviation may suffer.
The second story HINTS that the CAA, a career civil servant organization, is already moving away from EASA. The EU safety organization is heavily committed to planting its pan-continental aviation flag around the world.
The CAA has taken a step in the direction of establishing direct relationships with peer CAAs. The picture shows Richard Moriarty, chairman of the UK CAA, and Abdul Hakim bin Mohammed Al-Tamimi, chairman of the GACA, executing a Memorandum of Understanding between the two authorities:
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in Saudi Arabia and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of the UK have signed a memorandum of understanding…
The MoU aims to train and build capacity in various sectors of civil aviation, safety, security and environmental protection in air transport.
It also aims to be open to the latest technologies and best practices in various sectors of civil aviation, as well as to enhance mutual cooperation in the field of civil aviation.
The memorandum also addressed the topics of privatization, revenue sharing and financing units project, as well as the establishment and development of civil aviation research centers.
This MoU comes within the framework of cooperation between the two sides in the field of civil aviation and their wish to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two parties on the basis of mutual benefit and respect, in accordance with the laws, regulations and instructions in force in both countries.
These subjects have been included in previous EASA agreements with countries. This may be read as a signal that the CAA sees itself as independent of EASA.
The rest of the aviation world has to continue to carefully parse stories like these. As The New York Times has insisted, it is time for EASA and the UK to provide clear guidance on what will happen on March 29th!!!
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