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Brexit: How Will it Affect Aviation?

Brexit is the most famous word used since the referendum in June 2016 when the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union -a decision which few people on either side of public opinion would deny has created widespread uncertainty across all business sectors, aviation included. There has been a lot of alarmism, many proposals have been made, the white paper published but nothing approved and agreed from all sides. Nowadays there is a no-deal scenario for the 29th March 2019, the date when the agreement or no agreement will become a reality. In the aviation industry, the most significant impact of Brexit will be felt by all the European citizens and the British entities that work and fly between UK and EU, trading with customers across Europe. Aviation is comprised of different sides and it is hard to say what will really happen after March 2019. However, we can imagine some of the changes based on the millions of articles and news items published during the years predicting this important moment for the history of United Kingdom but especially changes that will affect aviation; for example:

  • UK could leave EASA.- UK licences and approvals will be no longer valid in Europe.

  • Europe will request more + different requirements for pilots and engineers holding UK CAA licences.

  • European airlines will give priority to the European pilots over British licence holders.- UK airlines will suffer an increase in airport charges.

  • Airport, passengers, leasing taxes will change for UK.

  • Trade barrier rules will be affected.- British ATO (Approved Training Organizations) could change bases to mainland Europe.

  • Some AOC Air Operator Certificates may not be accepted.

  • UK licensed pilots will need to come back to UK (only) to make their recurrent and LPC.

  • UK pilots will be changing their licences from UK to European, paying a fee to EASA.

Passengers of airlines that fly across Europe and UK could be subjected to more expensive tickets as the airport charges will change and so the air tickets prices. The UK could be seen as an international destination and no more part of Europe, so, the airports across EU could apply the higher fees for passengers after Brexit. The open skies arrangements will affect UK airline business decisions and their capacity to freely trade with European entities and citizens. All specific policy, trade and customs agreements will greatly be influencing the specific aviation agreements and the ability of the companies to trade.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) cannot yet determine the ultimate impact of Brexit for the UK but has declared that United Kingdom could be treated as a third country after the exit and the CAA UK is still calculating the risk of this big change.

These are just some of the many possibilities how Brexit will affect pilots, airlines and trade. There will be a transition period and a negotiation of future relations and all of it will take time, but the national aviation authorities will make their decisions after all.

At the moment it will continue as it is, until a proper Brexit deal is hammered out or not, but in terms of aviation being UK based, Brookfield Aviation, as an apolitical company, is pleased to work with airlines around the world and will be delighted to have more pilots on board from all nations, to help airlines, and pilots and engineers with any type of licence, to find suitable opportunities, supporting each of them during the difficult times ahead.

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