BREXIT: anxiety increases, but really?

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Eurocrats order no talks with UK about what after BREXIT

Post BREXIT– no UK parts can fly into Continent

Airbus CEO says there’s confusion


Aviation does not fare well with disruptive change. To assure some stability, there are multiple bilateral, multilateral, inter/intra continental (EASA, Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM),  and the ultimate global (ICAO) agreements. These sovereign-to-sovereign, quadra- and multilateral and UN “contracts’ convey complex air rights and various levels of recognition of the other CAA’s airworthiness competence.

These arrangements are usually open-ended as to the term of these rights. The open-ended temporal nature of these aviation links reflects that there is value in serious value in continuity; abrupt changes in aviation is inconsistent with the distant horizons of airline scheduling (at least 12 months) and aerospace manufacturing (aircraft development as much as 5 years and sales 1-3 years between contract and delivery).

BREXIT does not meet the aviation expectation for such permeance (well maybe it is at a relatively slow pace, but its disruption is SO extensive). The transitory issues have been discussed here:

Those expert views expressed some level of positivity that the transition would work. The consequences of no bridge between the UK in the EU and post BREXIT could be horrendous.

The below three stories have pumped up the volume. Read each to make your own judgement. Here are some thoughts, ASSUMING THAT THE FACTS ARE TRUE:

First article: the EUreaucrats may have designed this “strategy” to bring the UK to its senses. Such a Machiavellian tactic may work and some of the reason why the vote to leave the Union (see this graphic) reflects such messianic decisions by the folks in Brussels and Cologne.









Second article: the assumption of 100% accuracy does not apply to this paper. The notion, that the Eurocrats can identify an aircraft containing a UK produced part, is practically unlikely if not impossible. Using a more realistic example, an airplane solely manufactured in the UK and for which EASA has issued a Airworthiness Certificate, a determination that the aircraft cannot fly into Eurocontrol airspace, would be attacked both on legal and practical bases.

Hypothesizing that a new aircraft certificated in the UK, now the EU/EASA might prohibit its entry into the Continent; however, even the most foot-dragging Brussels/Cologne aviation staffer should reasonably be able to reestablish the necessary bilateral agreement.

Third article: The CEO of Airbus is in the position to provide the most reliable insight. In that a significant supply and technology source for Toulouse is on the other side of the Channel, he has the most focused judgment of the consequences of BREXIT without an agreement. That same trans Channel relationship will compel the Eurocrats to get it done ultimately. It’s certain  that Enders has the clout to make the EU build that bridge.







  1. EU bans aviation bosses from talks to avert post-Brexit flight chaos

The European Commission has refused point blank to discuss contingency plans before March next year when Britain officially severs ties with Brussels.

One industry source said the commission was simply being bloody minded and putting politics ahead of common sense.

He said: “This is purely about a negotiating strategy.

” Airlines, manufacturers and regulators will need at least nine months to draw up plans to minimise disruption if Brexit talks collapse with agreement.

They have warned the commission tens of thousands of aircraft could be automatically grounded unless a deal is struck between the UK and the EU.

A senior industry figure said: “We are the most heavily regulated industry in the world after nuclear.

“It is not feasible to cobble together a last-minute deal even if there is a political need.

British industry officials have raised the issues with chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier but the European Commission has dug its heels in and explicitly banned the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) from holding talks with its UK counterpart, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

In a letter to Mr Barnier the international General Aviation Manufacturers Association and the UK aerospace group ADS said the current approach risked harming not just Britain but the £190 billion EU-wide industry.

The letter said: “Our risk analysis concludes that EASA and the CAA need to urgently begin technical and contingency planning discussions by the June European Council, separate to the political negotiations.

“Without an agreed solution then supply chain disruption across Europe will occur, parts will be unable to be delivered, pilots and maintenance technicians will be unable to work, aerospace companies in the UK will lose foreign validations for their business, and aircraft will be grounded globally.”

Some EU diplomats have voiced their frustration at the hardline approach.

One said: “If aircraft are grounded and there’s chaos then people won’t say, ‘Oh, thanks for sticking to the letter of law’.

“They’ll blame us for allowing things to break down. They’d be right.”

   II.            Post-Brexit airlines could be BANNED from flying in EU – if they contain UK parts

AIRLINES that use parts made in the UK could be banned from flying planes in the EU after Brussels banned aviation officials from holding talks with Britain in the event of a no-deal Brexit next March.

All flights to and from Europe could be grounded post-Brexit after the European Commission refused to discuss aviation contingency plans before March, in a bid to put pressure on No.10.

A deal needs to be made between the European Aviation Safety Industry (EASA) and its UK counterpart, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as both currently work together to ensure the safety of aircraft parts.

If no deal is made, parts certified by the CAA would not have legal clearance in the EU.

This means airlines that have parts made in the UK could be banned from flying in the EU.

Experts claim that approximately nine months is needed to plan an adequate decision if Brexit talks fail to materialise.

If a deal cannot be reached between the UK and the EU before leaving next year, tens of thousands of planes could be affected.

Airbus, the UK’s largest aircraft manufacturer, could also be affected and production could be stalled.

British aircraft parts would not be able to be used in EU licensed planes, meaning UK manufactured planes would not be able to be used in the EU.

A senior industry figure told the Times: “We are the most heavily regulated industry in the world after nuclear.

“It is not feasible to cobble together a last-minute deal even if there is a political need.”

he Times revealed a letter addressed Mr Barnier, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, warning that it also means “pilots and maintenance technicians unable to work”.

Without talks, it could affect flights between the UK and America amid recent trade wars.

The US could refuse to recognise planes from Europe that contain UK parts.

Ryanair has been outspoken regarding flights being grounded post-Brexit if no aviation agreement is formed.

CEO Michael O’Leary has warned that passenger flights could be cancelled between the UK and EU.

III.            Brexit confusion threatens the UK aviation industry

Op Ed by Airbus CEO Tom Enders 






With less than one year until Britain leaves the EU, the future shape of the UK’s relations with the bloc and its member countries remains extremely unclear. For international businesses making investment decisions that go far beyond Brexit, this situation is damaging and hard to bear.

A transition arrangement for the UK’s departure will be a positive step, once it is signed. But this is a temporary solution — it does not solve all the issues that need to be addressed. We must have more clarity on the UK’s long-term relationships, not just for the next 20 months.

My business, aviation, is by its very nature global. Aerospace manufacturers, whose products must meet rigorous safety and certification standards, cannot let political whims drive the crucial issue facing our industry: no certification, no fly.

The UK must avoid double certification and double standards. This would best be achieved through continued participation in the EU aviation safety certification agency, EASA. The European Council apparently foresees an “air transport agreement combined with aviation and security agreements” that are somewhat aligned with current conditions.

This, combined with UK prime minister Theresa May’s comments, gives me hope the UK will remain a member of EASA and other regulatory agencies, but business cannot plan, or indeed run, on hope. Airbus’s UK sites design and build the wings for all our commercial aircraft. Our customers are not buying British wings; they are buying global aircraft. During production, parts of these wings move between the UK and the EU multiple times before final assembly. This is typical for all of our UK-assembled products and is why the lack of clarity around the customs union and trade is hugely worrying. Recommended FT View The final frontier for Brexit talks

We spend £5bn a year with UK suppliers. Across our operations and supply chain, we think Brexit will affect 672 sites. Our people also make more than 80,000 business trips between the other 27 EU nations and Britain every year.

Hard borders and regulatory divergence risk blocking trade, creating supply chain logjams and causing our business to grind to a halt. These delays will hit our competitiveness and are something that we cannot afford to tolerate. We need the UK to provide clarity on customs and ensure alignment with the EU rules that apply to our sector.

Meanwhile, Britain and the EU have insisted the security and defence relationship must continue after Brexit. The UK has much to offer and the two together provide a stronger deterrent. But this needs to be more than words. Real action is needed to cement this co-operation and ensure security for all Europe’s citizens, independent of talks on trade and economic relationships.

Britain and the EU nations must adopt a more pragmatic stance on flagship space and defence programmes that seek to enable closer working between militaries. At present the UK faces being left out, which benefits only those who pose security risks to all of us.

We must find a way for reality to match the rhetoric of security partnerships, continuing what has been established through political, military and industrial co-operation.

Another area of concern is the space industry, a vital component of European security and one from which the UK risks being frozen out. Britain and the EU nations must adopt a more pragmatic stance on flagship space and defence programmes that seek to enable closer working between militaries Research programmes funded by the EU such as Galileo — the European equivalent to GPS — and the earth observation programme Copernicus could be badly affected.

These issues should be included within the scope of the security and defence partnership, which the UK and the EU need to start negotiating now. There remains so much at stake, not least real investment decisions that could have serious implications for Airbus and other industrial companies well after the date the UK leaves the EU. Britain must recognise that future investments are not a given. It is the competitive environment that determines international interest in the UK. Any downgrading of the free movement of goods and people will have an impact on Britain’s competitiveness.

It is no good making the right noises. We need a plan that comes from the UK but is also accepted by the EU27. Within these negotiations, the EU will need to offer some flexibility but the UK must also be realistic in its demands; pragmatism must trump pride.

Our preference is for the UK to remain a home nation for Airbus, and we will continue to talk to the UK and other European governments and try to get the clarity we need. It is not too late to reassure large businesses like Airbus about what will happen in a year’s time as well as after a transition period. But the time to do that is fast running out.

We need business and regulatory conditions that are right for us and our supply chain. Competitiveness is key. Our factories are highly efficient. We must not lose this competitiveness, either through increased financial or regulatory burden, or through a lack of clarity that will make future investment impossible.




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1 Comment on "BREXIT: anxiety increases, but really?"

  1. Administrator (a) Elwell agrees–

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