BREXIT-out and UK CAA-in, or EASA-stay
2016 until now to prepare for CAA-in and EASA-out
ADS wants EASA as certification regulator
UK Secretary of Transport states CAA ready
A long and tortuous flight path took the UK aviation industry from a full-fledged member of EASA, the national referendum on June 12, 2015, almost constant date during the interim, to the actual effective date on Brexit, January 31, 2020 at 11.00 p.m. GMT. Here are a series of reports on the waypoints:
Information from the CAA: info.caa.co.uk/euexit/
Brexit transition period
Following the country’s exit from the EU on 31 January, the UK will enter a transition period until 31 December 2020, while the future UK-EU relationship on aviation is determined. During the transition period, EU law will continue to apply and the UK and its aviation sector will continue to participate in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) system. The UK will continue to be party to the EU Air Services Regulation and mutual recognition provisions established under the EASA Basic Regulation. Existing agreements between the EU and third country agreements, such as agreements relating to air connectivity and aviation safety, will continue to include the UK. As a result, businesses and individuals operating in the UK should see no change to existing conditions during the transition period.
The UK Government’s position
The UK Government has been clear that as the UK exits the EU, its aim is to ensure continued transport connectivity in support of successful economic and social ties, and as part of a deep and special future relationship.
Negotiations toward that objective will proceed during the transition period. Different outcomes are possible, but the respective positions outlined in the EU and UK negotiating mandates make clear that the UK will no longer participate in EASA systems after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.
The CAA’s role in Brexit
Determining the future relationship between the EU and the UK on aviation is a matter for the UK Government in its negotiations with the EU.
This page sets out the work that the CAA is undertaking in relation to EU withdrawal, including our readiness for a scenario where no UK-EU aviation agreements are in place at the end of the transition period. As a responsible regulator, the CAA is undertaking the following activities in preparation:
Supporting the Government in the Brexit process:
- Providing technical advice and support to negotiations where requested;
- Providing legal and policy support in developing necessary legislation to ensure that the statute book continues to function effectively in all scenarios; and
- Working with the Department for Transport (DfT) to develop and implement Bilateral Air Safety Agreements or similar agreements with the USA, Brazil, Canada and Japan to replace those currently in place with the EU as soon as they are required.
- Implementing contingency plans for the regulation of aviation in the event of the Brexit transition period ending in December 2020 with no UK-EU aviation safety agreements in place.
PRETTY CLEAR THAT CAA IN AND EASA OUT
As the above four headlines indicate the debate continues after the apparent fait accompli. The private sector seems to think that the CAA cannot handle the reaffirmation of its full jurisdiction will put the UK aerospace industry in a competitive disadvantage:
“Industry body ADS said that such a decision would be against the wishes of the industry, which might find it harder to attract investment without membership of the agency.
ADS chief executive Paul Everitt said that “continued participation” in EASA was “the best option” to maintain the competitiveness of the UK’s £36bn aviation industry:
“It is essential that (the government) works with us to deliver a regime that does not put jobs at risk in an industry that employs 111,000 people in highly skilled roles across the UK”, he added.
British Airways owner IAG also said that it was “disappointed” by Shapps’ decision, saying that the CAA “does not have the expertise required to operate as a world class safety and technical regulator”.”
“The CAA will require fundamental restructuring from top to bottom which will take time. There is no way that it can be done by 31 December”.
Industry body Airlines UK agreed that while the industry had supported continued membership, it was important to avoid the UK “being a dumb follower of EU rules”:
“We urge that negotiations start as soon as possible on a Bilateral Air Safety Agreement with the EU, so that this can be concluded by the end of December.
“Crucially, the starting point must be the current rule set for commercial aviation, which the CAA played such a key role in establishing”.
Paul Everitt, ADS chief executive. The UK aerospace industry, which has a highly-regulated global supply chain, relies on membership of EASA to maintain common safety and certification standards that are also acceptable to the US safety agency, the Federal Aviation Administration. The industry has estimated that it would take a decade and cost between £30m and £40m a year to create a UK safety authority with all the expertise of EASA, against a current contribution to the European agency of £1m to £4m annually.
In a speech to the sector’s biggest annual gathering in London, Tony Wood, incoming president of the industry trade body, ADS, said staying aligned with European aviation regulations was “in our national interest”. Mr Wood went on to warn that any changes to the current status — where the UK remains a member of the European Union Aviation Safety regime (EASA) — “need to be considered and carefully introduced.” “If the UK government has a different ambition, it needs to work with us to make sure we can deliver,” Mr Wood added .People close to the new ADS boss called for the government to set out its position in consultation with industry. They said his remarks reflected deep frustration in the aerospace and defence industries over the government’s failure to accept the implications of divergence from the EU.
The transport secretary said many of the most senior figures at the organisation headquartered in Cologne, Germany were British and that they would gradually return to the UK throughout this year as regulatory powers reverted to the Civil Aviation Authority.
“As you would expect from an independent nation, we can’t be subject to the rules and laws made by somebody else, so we can’t accept rules from the EU commission and we can’t accept rulings in terms of court cases from the European court of justice or anybody else, any more than the US would,” he told Aviation Week in Washington.
“A lot of the expertise [EASA has] is UK expertise, in fact … A lot of the key leading lights were Brits.”
The Tory MP added that the UK would seek to be “particularly forward-leaning” in the technology and automation sectors. “We’ll make sure our legislative framework is in a great place to enable those kinds of organisations to excel in the UK market,” he said.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Being a member of the European Aviation Safety Agency is not compatible with the UK having genuine economic and political independence. We will maintain world-leading safety standards for industry, with the Civil Aviation Authority taking over these responsibilities, and will continue to work with colleagues in the EU to establish a new regulatory relationship.”
The spokesperson added that the EU had been clear the UK would no longer be able to participate in the EASA but that the bloc had indicated a willingness to agree a bilateral aviation safety agreement.
…Mr Javid [recently resigned Exchequer] in an interview with the FT last week in which he insisted Britain would not be a ruletaker from Brussels. He added that after 3½ years of Brexit paralysis businesses in the UK have had plenty of time to prepare for the effects of leaving the bloc.
Tim Johnson, the CAA’s directors, said that the regulator had been planning for this outcome since 2016’s referendum, and that “there will be no immediate changes to aviation regulations at the end of this year, because of these preparations”.
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “We will maintain world-leading safety standards for industry, with the CAA taking over these responsibilities, and will continue to work with colleagues in the EU to establish a new regulatory relationship”.
Given we have broadly the same starting position on aviation safety with the EU, we have an opportunity to provide early certainty to industry on the terms of our new regulatory relationship,” they said.
On its website, EASA has said the UK will not take part in any decision-shaping activities during the transition period, which ends on 31 December. However, it can be extended by up to two years if the EU and UK agree jointly on a delay.
One area that now has more questions than answers is in aviation, as UK aviation will now be regulated by the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) after years of being under the watchful eye of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). What this means for any US airframe or equipment manufacturer that wants to continue selling in the UK market is unclear at this point as a “transition period” begins that will ultimately shift regulatory authority from EASA to CAA.
To help with this transition, CAA has built a “microsite” that lists a great deal of information for how all facets of aviation will be handled going forward. While the site covers a lot of ground, it is clear the negotiations to facilitate the transition are just getting started, and much of the information delivered is general and not specific. What this means for US OEMs wanting a piece of the UK market is that they’ll need to stay on top of these negotiations between CAA and EASA by subscribing to news and updates and choosing the “EU exit” category in CAA’s SkyWise alerting system.
CAA states that “following the country’s exit from the EU on 31 January, the UK will enter a transition period until 31 December 2020, while the future UK-EU relationship on aviation is determined. During the transition period, EU law will continue to apply and the UK and its aviation sector will continue to participate in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) system. …
If one carefully parses the two sides, it does not appear that the differences are that significant. ADS said in one speech that the UK must continue to participate in EASA’s deliberations, while the government indicates that the CAA will immediately establish a relationship with Brussels and negotiate a BASA.
NOTE: the long lead step in establishing any BASA agreement is for both parties to familiarize each other with their regulatory regimes. That has been met over the years of EASA membership. The second major element to setting this relationship is to determine if the respective regulatory regimes are congruent; they are identical.
Instead of trading quips at each other, maybe they should just get on with it?
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