UK must leave EASA after Brexit, says EU

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The UK will have no choice but to leave the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) after Brexit, according to reports that EU negotiators are taking a hardline on aviation.

“UK membership of EASA is not possible,” the European Commission said in a recent presentation. The main reason is that the UK has ruled out accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

This raises the possibility of the UK CAA having to create new departments to certify aircraft and parts, as well as operating its own licensing regime for pilots and maintenance engineers.

So far, the line of the UK government and the CAA has been to remain part of EASA after Brexit in March 2019.

“It makes no sense to recreate a national regulator,” said CAA Chief Executive Andrew Haines last September. “At best, you replicate the vast majority of European regulation, and you’d have to do it over an extended period of time. At worst, you create unnecessary barriers.”

ADS, the trade association for UK aerospace industry, estimates it could take approximately 5-10 years for the CAA to rebuild its safety regulation capability to fill in those responsibilities which EASA currently holds.

“Remaining a member of EASA is a more cost-effective and practical solution to maintain safety and competitiveness,” said a spokesperson.


See 33 comments


  • John Webb says:

    And for me I will be able to continue flying C172/152s and PA28 after April 8th when the derogation expires. The brilliant CAA on line Med Dec and not above 2000lbs MTOW negotiated with LAA allows me to fly them now with a managed medical condition. But EASA won’t after then. Lots of others like me will be forced out of GA then. By by.

  • peter says:

    What a wonderful opportunity to align ourselves with the FAA system.

    • Keith says:

      “What a wonderful opportunity to align ourselves with the FAA system.”

      So, you’re happy to live in a vassal state of the US?

      • Peter says:

        In terms of aviation, very much so. Having a relatively sensible maintenance system where you can use freelance individuals. An IR that is sensible to get and practical for actual GA IFR. Far better than the EASA alternative

    • Ben says:

      Getting out of EASA regulation will remove that pesky requirement to have expensive EASA paperwork as well as my truly internationally valid FAA paperwork

  • Ian-W says:

    Don’t forget Iceland is a member of EASA. The non-EU member states can sit at the table and contribute evidence and advice in the discussion but are unable to vote though.

  • Julian Rose says:

    This is what the CAA website says about how it is funded:
    “The UK Government requires that our costs are met entirely from charges to those we provide a service to or regulate.”

    The CAA is nothing like it was pre EASA, and would require a substantial investment to get back to how it was, and regulate as before. The cost of that would have to met by those of us in the industry (operators, maintenance organisations, training organisations, airports, pilots, engineers, etc).
    I doubt there is enough money in our industry, especially after the likes Easyjet have moved their AOC out of the UK.
    If you think your flying is expensive now, imagine the cost if that happens.

  • Terry Brennan says:

    EASA is not only about pilots, the engineering “level playing field ” never existed under EU rules. Many European countries just handed full B1 B2 licences to their engineers, the cornflake packet syndrome. Any change from that has to be an improvement in standards.

  • Cliff Whittaker - former CAA Head of Licensing and Training Policy (left 2015) says:

    HMG and CAA may decide to leave the EASA regulatory system, but the UK industry and the licensed pilots and engineers working here don’t have to if they don’t want to. Outside of the EASA system we will be a third country. Pilots and engineers living in 3rd countries can hold European (FCL or 66) licences – they just have to choose the member State they want to be regulated by – e.g. Ireland? There are plenty of ‘European’ aircraft maintenance companies (Part M, 145) in 3rd countries and plenty of training schools offering Part-FCL courses in such countries too. Their approvals are regulated by EASA directly from Cologne. If the UK leaves EASA, any UK company can transfer its approval to EASA and any pilot or engineer can keep their Europe wide privileges by having their licence re-issued by another State. Training schools that want to continue to offer Part-FCL courses would have to do this and so would their instructors and examiners – UK national approvals and instructor/examiner certificates are not valid for Part-FCL. Companies and personnel that want to be UK national can stay with the CAA. UK airlines are alreaady taking steps to stay European by moving their principal places of business to mainland Europe – So expect Easyjet etc’s Part-145/M to transfer to EASA and their engineers to another Member State, along with the pilots. And does anyone seriously think that Rolls-Royce is going to leave the EASA system? The fact is that if the UK leaves EASA it will hand over all remaining regulatory oversight of big commercial aviation in the UK to EASA and other Member States. So much for taking back control! Having lost control of the commercial industry to Europe, the DfT and CAA may as well make things easy for UK registered aircraft by leaving in place the ANO provisions that make EASA certificates and licences valid for UK aircraft. They could then make UK national approvals, licences valid for all UK-registered aircraft, including those that were ‘EASA aircraft’. Then those building, owning, maintaining and flying aircraft in the UK could carry on pretty much as now. The only real effect would be that the role of CAA and DfT would be greatly diminished.
    That is why the UK should remain in the EASA system, whatever else happens.

  • Flug Log.. says:

    I’m just thinking of the administrative nightmare that will ensue with conducting cross-channel flights… even across the Irish border/sea.

    Leavers have really messed everything up for us. I’m also in limbo as to whether it’s worth me carrying on with my commercial training….

  • ex BA says:

    Here we go again the greatest most respected license world wide being abused by the great Euro bullshit. I and many had to have restrictions removed from original licenses which was not cheap.The rest of Europe had full B1 and in some cases full B2 Engineering licenses given to them.The Scandinavian lot all were given full B2 licenses of which many of them could not wire a domestic 3 pin plug.The French who never had a license system all got given full B 1 Licenses,and we all know the standard of their work don’t we.This again is appalling behaviour by the UK CAA and Government,thank goodness i am approaching retirement

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