When Brexit comes, the Europeans have made it clear that all of Britain’s pre-European Open Skies air traffic agreements are no longer valid, indeed European Open Skies was specifically designed to render them, and all others amongst members, redundant. EASA also took over EU-wide responsibility for safety in aviation and is every bit as effective as the FAA if not more so.
However The US FAA is telling British authorities that with some 50% of all European repair and maintenance functions in Britain, and with the UK providing some 40% of the workforce and expertise that maintains and operates the European ATC system, never mind a significant part of its budget, the FAA will need to start inspecting British facilities and airlines if they are to continue to fly to the US – and by the start of 2018.
It seems however that Britain is about to offer to stay in the EASA safety organisation, and in doing so it will have to accept the European Court of Justice as the final arbiter in high level disputes. This is one of those points British pro-Brexit politicians have nailed themselves to a cross over, and seem prepared to go to any lengths to prevent. The ECJ (ironically designed and created by British lawyers after WW2), is seen as interfering in domestic law.
However if the EASA safety institution can be accepted, then so can the European Open Skies deal, which also requires the ECJ to be the ultimate arbiter of disputes.
This is by no means a done deal, and EU airline groups are determined that the UK plays by the same rules they have to as a minimum.
Non-EU countries do subscribe to EASA, contributing to its budget, and there is no real reason Britain could not continue inside it, but a decision needs to be made, and without one soon, things are going to get complicated.
Using the ECJ as an excuse isn’t a viable way forward and British negotiators must surely realise it even if the ultra-Brexiteers, who would rather see the country drifting in the mid Atlantic on a raft of economic ruins than stay in any part of the ECJ, try to force the issue their way.