The UK’s membership of the European Union officially ended on January 31 this year. This began a transitional period of one year set to end in three short months, on December 31. So, the UK will no longer be part of the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) system in 2021, and this still has aviators in the UK, Europe, and all over the world scratching their heads in confusion, wondering what the operating conditions will be like next year.
Seeking clarity as the deadline fast-approaches is natural, however, since negotiations between the UK government and the EU are still in progress, we will have to wait a bit longer to get a full picture of how the dust will settle. But operators, authorities, and associations await guidance on the future of operating licenses, crew planning requirements, issues of aircraft airworthiness, maintenance, etc. But despite all these questions, the bottom line is that it is in the interest of all aviation stakeholders that connectivity and operational consistency remain as intact as possible in the future.
Over the past four years, the UK Civil Aviation Authority has been working with stakeholders to prepare for a non-negotiated outcome to maintain as much stability and give aviators as much clarity as possible. In partnership with the Department for Transport, they have taken steps to ensure that in 2021 all technical requirements in UK domestic regulation currently in effect will remain the same. They also state all certificates, approvals, and licenses issued in accordance with EASA requirements that are in effect on 31 December will remain valid under UK law for two years – that is, unless they are set to expire sooner.
Looking for the most advantageous outcome for both the UK and the EU, a bilateral agreement that would facilitate the continuation of safety standards and connectivity would be ideal. From the UK’s viewpoint, it will be free to negotiate its own bilateral agreements with the global aviation markets of Latin America, Asia, and Africa, in addition to the Open Skies agreement with the US. It is my wish that the post-Brexit aviation will continue as unabated as possible, and that collaboration and coordination will be the flavors of the day.
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