By DebbieH 13 Mar 2019 7 min read

No-deal Brexit could ‘jeapordise’ EU aviation safety standards

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has warned that a no-deal Brexit could risk aviation safety standards in Europe.

As a result of Brexit, the UK will cease to be a part of the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA). Therefore, the EESC says that ‘contingency measures’ are urgently required to mitigate any potential damage to air travel between the EU and UK.

Jacek Krawczyk, who drafted an opinion on the issue for the EESC, said, “The proposed regulation is a temporary solution and represents a contingency plan to reduce the impact of an abrupt Brexit.”

“It is the only realistic way to mitigate possible serious negative consequences to be expected for the aviation sector, if the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified before 29 March.”

Further comment came from EESC Irish member Thomas McDonogh, who warned, “Contingency measures are required as a matter of urgency to mitigate possible damage to air travel between the EU and the UK. The EU regulation should only become effective to resolve aviation safety issues which could not otherwise be resolved.”

“The purpose is not to extend the status quo, but to offer a temporary solution to enable the sector to continue to adhere to the highest safety standards until the UK has established national agencies and national legislation to assume the role of a safety agency,” he added.

In the event of no ratification of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement and in the absence of any other legal basis, the EESC says the following is unclear: whether certificates issued by the UK under EU law would be valid; how UK-registered airlines could obtain the required certification after Brexit, and, finally how repair and maintenance companies in the UK could continue to deliver spare parts and services with the licensing as required by EU law.

In an effort to cover a Brexit no-deal scenario, the Commission has put together a contingency action plan, which would provide a legal basis to ensure a smooth transition to the application of UK law.

Specific measures would be adopted to ensure continued validity of certificates for certain aeronautical products, parts, appliances and companies.

This, says the Commission, would provide the sector with the required assurances that the certification process will not be jeopardised during the UK’s transition from being a Member State to the status of a third country.

The EESC has now urged the EU and UK to conclude Brexit negotiations “without delay in order to re-establish a legal basis for robust airline competition between the carriers.”