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UK keen on staying with European Aviation Safety Agency after Brexit

theresa mayThe Prime Minister of Britain, Theresa May, has indicated that they want to be part of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) even after the UK exits from the European Union.

The UK is set to leave the EU at 11 p.m. on March 29, 2019.

The Prime Minister’s statement was well regarded amongst different corners of UK’s aviation industry.

“We will also want to explore with the EU, the terms on which the UK could remain part of EU agencies such as those that are critical for the chemicals, medicines and aerospace industries: the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), and the European Aviation Safety Agency,” stated the Prime Minister.

“We would, of course, accept that this would mean abiding by the rules of those agencies and making an appropriate financial contribution,” she added.

EASA holds numerous roles which includes aviation legislation for both the European Commission and member states; implementing legislation – this is comprised of coordinating inspections, training and standards; certification of aircraft, engines and parts and; approving of maintenance organizations.

EASA is actually an institution of the EU but countries are not compelled to be members of the EU to be considered as members. Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Norway are all full members and do their part for EASA’s budget.

“The UK being forced to disengage from EASA in some way would be a tragedy not just for the UK but also for EASA – it is surely difficult to argue other than that the UK continuing in EASA is in everyone’s best interests.

“The UK has historically made a substantial contribution to EASA both in terms of skills and funding – providing about 50 members of staff and paying over Eu5 million per year to the budget. It is one of the biggest technical contributors to EASA’s working groups,” said Mark Bisset, a Partner at Clyde & Co and author of a special Brexit report that was released by the European Business Aviation Association.

“The UK has also always been willing to share with EASA the expertise of the Civil Aviation Authority. It’s encouraging to see that EASA is being raised at the highest political levels – let’s hope the same now applies to other Brexit-related issues for aviation such as traffic rights,” Bisset continued.

The UK is most likely going to make EASA rulings obligatory by reproducing them in its own aviation legislation.

“In some cases, Parliament might choose to pass an identical law – businesses who export to the EU tell us that it is strongly in their interest to have a single set of regulatory standards that mean they can sell into the UK and EU markets,” the Prime Minister asserted.

“If the Parliament of the day decided not to achieve the same outcomes as EU law, it would be in the knowledge that there may be consequences for our market access.”

Aerospace companies that rely on EASA certification also welcomed the remarks.

“Today’s proposal from the Prime Minister to seek continued UK membership of EU agencies that regulate aerospace and chemicals offers welcome reassurance to our industries over the Government’s plans for Brexit.

“We need arrangements that protect our deeply integrated supply chains, ensure passenger safety, and avoid creating new regulatory or customs barriers to trade with the EU, our largest export market,” said Jeegar Kakkad, Chief Economist of UK aerospace trade-body group ADS, in a press release.

“Continued membership of agencies like EASA and the ECHA is key to achieving these ambitions, and both UK and EU negotiators must take the opportunity to agree practical solutions, including on judicial oversight,” Kakkad added.

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