How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal: Flying

BrexitThe UK Government has produced a series of technical notices about what we should be prepared for should we leave the EU on March 29th 2019 with no deal.

This is a series of articles which hopes to inform readers how a Brexit no deal will affect you, businesses and industry in the UK.

 “it is currently planned that the Withdrawal Agreement would be agreed by the European Union and the United Kingdom in October 2018.” UK Gov


The UK is a member of The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)  –  the European Union Agency responsible for civil aviation safety. When we leave the EU we will also leave EASA if there is no deal.

The UK will be known as a ‘third country’.

What does EASA do? It  issues:

  • Safety approvals
  • Pilot licences
  • approvals to businesses established in EU countries designing aeronautical products
  • approvals to products such as aircraft, engines and propellers
  • safety certificates to organisations established in third countries (i.e. countries outside the EASA system) that want to provide goods and services into the EASAsystem

Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland also participate in the EASA system even though they are not in the EU as they have agreed to participate in it.

The UK Government intends to retain the current  rules and standards of EU aviation safety legislation in EASA, in the short term.

“If there’s no deal, the automatic mutual recognition of aviation safety certificates, provided for under the EASA system, would cease to apply to the UK. “

The EU has said that it will not automatically accept certificates issued by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA )

This also affects the person flying the plane:

“Pilots wishing to operate an aircraft registered in the EASA system must hold an appropriate licence issued, or validated, in an EASA state. “

And the engineers maintaining the planes.

And the cabin crew.

And industry – Any parts for an aircraft manufactured in the UK will not be automatically accepted and cannot be installed on EU registered Aircraft.

What about people flying into the UK?

All foreign operators – that’s everyone  – will have to have a safety certificate issued to them by the UK’s CAA.

There are 17 operators from outside the EU who fly into the UK. This is covered by the UK’s membership of EASA. After Brexit all operators will have to apply for individual permissions to fly into the UK.

To have an operating licence for routes EU airlines must be mostly owned and controlled by EU nationals. When the UK leaves the EU it will not be putting in place a similar limitation on the ownership of ‘UK’ airlines. This means that ‘UK’ airlines may not be owned and controlled by UK citizens.

Air Safety and Traffic Control

EUROCONTROL covers 41 countries and being part of it is separate to EU membership. It aims to ‘deliver a Single European Sky‘ and countries work together to achieve that. Although the UK will continue to be a member of EUROCONTROL it will leave the EU’s Single European Sky (SES) scheme:

“Launched by the European Commission in 1999, its primary aim is to meet  future capacity and safety needs through legislation. With the Single European Sky second package (SES II), a step forward was made towards establishing targets in key areas of safety, network capacity, effectiveness and environmental impact.” SES

The UK will no longer be part of the research to improve air traffic flow and reduce costs which SES has been so successful at working towards.

Passengers, Luggage and Cargo

Passengers  from the UK who have to make a transfer at an EU airport will be subject to extra security checks and delays. This also applies to their luggage and any cargo being transported. All of this will have to be re-screened.

Cargo Transporters will require to have an  ACC3 designation to permit their cargo to enter an EU airport. This is required for ‘third country’ states which is what the UK will be.

The UK Government is urging all passengers  to check with their travel company to ensure that they will be covered should there be delays or cancellations to their flights. What air travellers have been used to with membership of the EU may no longer apply.

All permissions and licenses with regards to air transport will require individual permissions granted by the UK’s CAA.

At the time of writing this there had been no agreement reached with the EU over arrangements for flight. All the information on this page is from the UK Government.

There will be a debate in the UK Parliament on Wednesday 31st of October about the Effect of Aviation with Brexit.

“The UK is currently in the process of negotiating its exit from the EU including a possible a transition period and the shape of our future relationship with the EU. As those negotiations are ongoing, we do not yet know with any certainty what the effects of Brexit on transport policy, industry, services and operations will be”

You can download the full report for the discussion here: Effect on the aviation sector of the UK leaving the EU

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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4 replies »

    • How apt Bernie. If UK doesn’t get a deal I think this is going to shake-up a great number of ‘Leave’ voters when they find themselves and their holidays disrupted. Then there is always the possibility of ‘VISAS’!!!!

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