UK and EU aviation regulators should discuss Brexit plans, trade bodies say

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view Heathrow Airport near London© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view Heathrow Airport near London

LONDON (Reuters) – British and European airline regulators should be allowed to begin technical planning for Brexit that is kept separate from political discussions, aerospace trade bodies told the European Union’s lead Brexit negotiator in a letter.

Aviation is one sector that could be most severely impacted by Brexit, as there is no default fallback option for the industry if there is no agreement on future relations after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.

With less than a year to go, two aviation trade associations have demanded that negotiators allow the regulators to start technical planning conversations to help provide clarity for different Brexit scenarios.

“The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) need to urgently begin technical and contingency planning discussions by the June European Council, and separate to the political negotiations,” the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the ADS Group said in a letter to the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

British officials are negotiating with their EU counterparts to agree rules about how a range of sectors will operate after Brexit, including aviation, finance and pharmaceutical firms. They have consulted businesses on their stance but the request for aviation regulators to thrash out the finer details shows the concerns building within the industry.

The letter said there would be a range of actions that EASA and CAA would need to take, whether or not Britain and the EU ratify the withdrawal agreement by the exit date.

“The European aviation industry as a whole cannot afford any unintended consequences that arise from legal uncertainties,” the letter said.

Britain has said it wants to explore the terms on which it could remain part of EASA. However, Britain could be excluded from the agency after it leaves the bloc.

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