As Brexit Nears, UK Civil Aviation Authority Plans

As the March 29 deadline looms, the UK CAA plans for various Brexit scenarios, including pursuing bilateral air safety agreements.

AMSTERDAM—The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) wants to stay within the EASA system after the UK exits the European Union (Brexit) but given that the UK government hasn’t determined how it will exit, CAA is preparing for a Hard Brexit, a scenario where no mutually beneficial deal is reached.

Most of CAA’s preparations are based on a Hard Brexit, or “worse-case scenario,” so it’s ready after the Mar. 29, 2019 deadline, CAA policy specialist (Brexit), safety and airspace regulation group, Steve Horton said at Aviation Week’s MRO Europe Conference.

As part of this, the whole EASA regulation package, with slight tweaks to replace Europe with UK and EASA with CAA, will be sent to Parliament by the end of December, Horton said.

“If we’re still in the EASA system, the stated position is that we will follow the regulation,” said Horton. “If we’re out,” and now relying on UK legislation that mirrors the European aviation laws at the point of exit, “we’ll follow the rules...but could change bits of it” after a two-year period if CAA sees room for improvement.

Whether it will be a Hard Brexit or not, the UK is preparing bilateral air safety agreements with the FAA, EASA and Brazilian ANAC because the current EU bilaterals will no longer apply. Horton said CAA hopes to have those in place before Mar. 29.

The plan is to recognize Part 66 maintenance licenses for up to two years within the UK, Horton said.

CAA, which is in the process of rebuilding itself after greatly shrinking following the creation of EASA, is in hiring mode, but Horton acknowledges the authority is having a hard time recruiting the experience level it needs based on the uncertainties of the Brexit process.

No matter what the final Brexit agreement will look like, Horton stresses that one second after 11 p.m. local time on Mar. 29, 2019, UK-registered aircraft will be flying to Europe and back. “Everything will be in place from a UK perspective to enable that,” Horton said.

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