The U.K. is prepared to offer continued airline access to U.K. skies in the event of a no-deal Brexit provided the same is offered to British airlines.
There still remain a battery of issues around licences and security protocols to be agreed, but the U.K. said today it wants to remain in EASA for the benefit of the entire aviation industry.
If it doesn’t problems will start to arise with certification of engineers working on aircraft that fly in Europe, the sourcing and supply of certified spares, and a host of pilot ‘rights to fly’ issues over borders.
Another major issue is wether Europe will accept British security guarantees, allowing for the transfer of luggage to connecting flights. If Europe doesn’t then British passengers will be forced to collect luggage and re-check it during transit.
The issues don’t just cover Europe, as it’s in Britain’s interest to remain in EASA. The EU may not accept that unless the U.K. also accepts the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, which is the final court in aviation disputes. The U.K. government is opposed to continued membership of the court.
Without EASA the U.K. is excluded from the trans-Atlantic Open Skies agreements unless it can gain separate agreement to continue those arrangements.
So while it sounds easy on paper, like so much else it’s causing far more questions than it actually answers.
In the first instance Britain will simply have to accept – and so will the EU – that nothing changes until other agreements come into force, as far as two years or more down the road. However, aviation coming to a dead stop is considered beyond unacceptable enough to force compromise. It’s a pity the whole Brexit process can’t be managed with a similar attitude.