Along with the other European Union member states, the UK is currently part of the European Aviation Safety Agency. Based in Cologne, Germany, this EU body is responsible for all aspects of civil aviation safety — and an unlikely source underlined its importance.
Speaking at the UK’s Aviation Club last week, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s chief Michael Huerta explained the seriousness of the UK’s situation with regards to aviation safety.
Huerta pointed out that currently the UK benefits from the being part of EASA and that when it leaves the EU it will need to be replaced or there would be the very real possibility of an “interruption of service.” To put it another way if the UK doesn’t sort something out there will be big problems.
“With very limited exceptions the United Kingdom’s aviation products are currently certified by the European safety agency or EASA and service providers such as maintenance repair and overhaul facilities are certified using EU regulation and EASA procedure,” said Huerta.
“If the UK does not maintain an associated or working arrangement with EASA upon leaving the EU, the UK will quickly need to re-establish competencies in specific areas especially around certification of new aviation products. And additionally, the U.S.-UK bilateral aviation safety agreement has been largely dormant for a number of years. Well it needs to be updated and put in place to be enforced upon the UK’s exit from the EU. Now this is manageable but it will take time and it will depend on clarity around the UKs relationship with EASA going forward.”
When the UK leaves the European Union it will be forced to replace thousands of regulations with some of its own.
Aviation is one of the areas where the EU plays a crucial role for the UK and if airports aren’t going to grind to a halt on March 30, 2019 , the UK needs to either re-establish its own regulatory framework or apply to retain certain memberships.