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21st Apr 2019

US pleads for clarity on Brexit aviation 'black hole'

  • The UK and EU will need to untangle a web of regulatory issues over aviation ahead of Brexit (Photo: angeloangelo)

The United States is asking for clarity on aviation safety rules in the lead up the Britain's departure from the European Union.

The head of the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) Michael Huerta told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (13 December) that the UK will not have the required status under an existing US and EU safety agreement post March 2019, unless a deal is reached.

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A no deal would be "highly disruptive, highly costly for manufacturers" in terms of trying to comply with FAA certification and standards, he said.

The UK is currently part of the Cologne-based European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

EASA and the FAA provide regulatory oversight and certification of aircraft components from manufacturers in Europe and the United States. They also recognise each other's safety certifications.

But it is unclear if the UK will remain a part of the European agency after Brexit or if it will set up something altogether different.

The issue spans everything from product manufacturing, airport repair stations and ground operations to service providers on both sides of the Atlantic.

The US is seeking some sort of clarity on any future agreement by early next year as a head start for any possible changes before the Brexit cut off date.

"That would save us all a lot of effort. If we don't have that, then it puts us in a situation of needing to negotiate on parallel paths, " he said.

Heurta had passed on a similar message to his UK counterpart in London, transport minister Chris Grayling, earlier this week. On Wednesday, he met with the European Commission.

"Our strong preference would not be about a particular outcome but more about having certainty about what the outcome is, so that we have a target that we are shooting for," he said.

On Wednesday, Reuters further reported that British carriers risk losing flying rights to third countries under deals struck by the European Union.

The EU also threatened to revoke operating licences granted by the British civil aviation authority. Such a move would prevent the airlines from operating inside the EU.

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