The UK Civil Aviation Authority has BREXIT choices to make!

Brexit will present a number of major challenges for both the CAA and the UK aviation industry.

Will the UK still sit around the top table?

Currently, the UK CAA is a major stakeholder to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) multiple working groups. However after the “divorce” it will probably not be possible to achieve the same level of engagement – Means the UK CAA will be outside the inner circle and will not have the same level of influence.

Will the UK adopt EASA regulations?

Here there is a specific challenge, because if they do not follow 100% they will create distance which will ultimately damage the UK Aerospace Industry and see future work move to main land Europe!

Conversely If the UK fully adopts EASA requirements, the UKCAA and UK industry will not be able to influence the construction of the regulations and will see a diminished role going forward.

Will the UK become a “Third Country”?

It is possible that the UK would become a ‘Third Country’ under EASA, It is possible that all current approvals would in theory need to be overseen by EASA or NAA’s from existing EU states. It is possible that the role of the UK CAA would therefore diminish. – A technically challenging situation to say the least.

This is what Switzerland says about its relationship with EASA.

Safety regulations have also been harmonised. They are controlled by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). This agency is responsible for licensing aircraft and for supervising technical requirements, for example, regarding aircraft maintenance.

Will UK CAA Form 1’s be recognised by EASA?

Release documents (Form 1’s, CRS) issued under the UK Air Navigation Order (ANO) will not automatically have mutual recognition in EU member states.

What about Pilot & Maintenance Engineers Licences?

Flight Crew and Maintenance Engineers Licences may require ‘validation’ before they can be used in other EU member states.

A likely scenario

The UK CAA may initially retain and adopt all existing EASA requirements, but this is only step 1 what happens afterwards and how could EASA oversee the UK – major issues with manpower.

As time passes it is inevitable that the UK will drift away from EASA due in part to their “self inflicted” lack of influence (A potential divergence will compromise acceptance for example Airworthiness Reviews)

Additionally UK industry may become concerned in their lack of formal influence on EASA requirements in the longer term.

The UK CAA may become Qualified Entity in accordance with the Basic Regulation, Annex V, to allow them to function in accordance with EASA requirements (Is the UK CAA ready to be told what to do !)

What should Industry do ?

Well until such times as the UK CAA and EU announce the way forward it is necessary for due diligence purposes to plan for the various outcomes. If an organisation has multiple sites maybe the primary site should NOT be in the UK ?

This is not as straight forward as it sounds because the ownership must also reside in an EU Member State – We live in Interesting times.

Steven Bentley is MD of SAS and EOL