Brexit: what now, what next for British Aviation?

The long dreaded Brexit day has finally arrived – I’m not going to pretend I think it’s a good or positive thing. Over time Britain will carry on, but many of the hopes and dreams I had for it inside Europe have gone.

In terms of aviation nothing much changes right now. In fact nobody will see anything much change at all. The next stage is December 31st 2020, when the interim exit arrangements expire.

If there is no trade agreement and no General Aviation agreement we go right back to where we were a year ago, and it’s a very real possibility that flights again, could stop over night. That didn’t happen because Brexit kept getting postponed and eventually there was what we have from tonight, an temporary solution.

Nobody wants a full stop to flights, but arrangements on over flights, maintenance, air traffic control, pilot and cabin crew licences, rights of ownership, aircraft registration validity, all have to be resolved in 11 months.

To put it in context as of 11pm tonight, 31 January, the U.K. exits 600 separate treaties negotiated while it was an EU member that no longer apply and need to be renegotiated.

There is now a huge question over the future of the British Avaition registry, which has declined dramatically as airlines like easyJet move to Vienna. British maintenance companies are wondering where their business will come from if they can’t ensure acceptance of their work inside the EU.

And on top of that there’s the mutual recognition of security pass through for luggage and cargo, passenger screening and passport standards.

None of this has been agreed and 11 months is a very short time to get it done. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson once said forcing time limits tied everyone’s hands. Now he’s forcing a time limit on negotiation for a complex trade and aviation deal that took the EU 7 years to negotiate with Canada and nearly 10 years with Japan. Both just took effect in the last two years and the U.K. has just left them.

And from me to all our European friends nothing will change: Europe is part of us and we’ll always be part of you.