In the event of a no deal Brexit, what will happen to aviation safety in the UK? – The UK CAA Perspective

For the benefit of operators and employees within aviation, we explore what the result of a potential no deal Brexit could mean for them…


Source: ‘The CAA’s guide to Brexit No Deal & Aviation Safety – September 2019’

Both the CAA and the British government have declared their position post Brexit – ensuring that safety remains the top priority:

The stated preference of the UK Government and the CAA is that the UK remains part of the EASA aviation safety system post Brexit. Whilst this remains our position, we are preparing for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

The below article aims to give reassurance to both employees and operators of what this may mean for them and the industry they work in, in the event of a no deal Brexit. We will explore the measures that will be taken to ensure Britain’s high safety standards are continued and reinforced for passengers and the aviation industry in general.

Rest assured that the UK will remain an international beacon and benchmark of high quality and safety, whatever the outcome of Brexit.

Aviation safety

Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, aviation will always need to be collaboratively regulated across borders due to the very nature of the global industry. Nevertheless, the UK government and CAA are devoted to ensuring the UK doesn’t compromise on meeting high standards of safety.

EASA acts as an agent that supervises the safety within aviation for the EU, and currently Britain is a vital member. The British government has ensured that it is a key priority for the UK to keep their membership with EASA. However extensive work will be carried out if this membership cannot be sustained post Brexit.

What if there is no deal?

The CAA confirm that the renowned high safety standards of British aviation will not be in any way compromised in a no deal scenario.

In terms of licences, approvals and certificates, the UK has confirmed that all EASA documents issued outside of the UK for British registered aircraft and within Britain’s aviation system, will continue to be valid for at least two years.

As a key member of EASA, the UK claim it would also be to the benefit of the European Union to reciprocate this process during this transitional period, continuing to recognise any applicable documents issued by the UK CAA under the EASA flag.

What this means for UK registered commercial pilots?

Pilot licenses issued in the UK remain applicable for aircraft registered in the UK irrespective of the Brexit conclusion, according to international aviation rules set out by ICAO.

If UK licensed pilots wish to fly EU registered aircraft after Brexit, then as it stands a license transfer will need to be in place. In advance of Brexit taking place, these pilots must ensure they have their license reissued by another EASA member state.

The outcome of the negotiation will likely have an impact on most UK registered commercial pilots.

What this means for EASA state commercial pilots?

According to the CAA, any pilot that holds a commercial licence from another EASA member state will require authorisation from the UK CAA to operate UK registered aircraft. For the convenience of these specific pilots, a system has been established to ease this process for those that require a validation.

What this means for UK licensed aircraft maintenance engineers?

If you are an engineer with a UK licence you will remain permitted to maintain UK registered aircraft. However, unless the EU decide to recognise UK engineer licences, you will not be permitted to maintain EU registered aircraft.

For engineers with licences from other EASA member states, they will have up to two years post Brexit, to be permitted to maintain UK registered aircraft before otherwise needing to obtain a UK issued license.

What this means for cabin crew approvals (attestations)?

All cabin crew are authorised (attested) by their airline which will be by regulated criteria. Attestations issued in the UK would remain valid on UK registered aircraft.

The CAA will continue to recognise EU issued cabin crew attestations for UK registered aircraft, for a time period of 2 years after Brexit. Once this interim period is complete, companies with UK registered aircraft are required to provide a UK attestation to those who previously had an EU version.

If the result of negotiations is a no deal Brexit, UK issued attestations may not be valid for EU registered aircraft. Any crew on EU registered aircraft must ensure their operator has issued them with an EU issued attestation.

To summarise

Safety is paramount to all stakeholders of UK Aviation and ensuring a painless and seamless transition in the event of a no-deal Brexit is at the forefront of operational decision making.

Outside of the EU, the CAA and DfT have been working tirelessly with the USA, Canada, Japan, and Brazil to ensure replacement bi-lateral agreements would be in place post-Brexit.

We would encourage anybody who would like a more in-depth understanding, and an overview of what this may mean for other aviation workers, to visit the full CAA Publication by clicking here

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