The EESC underlined repeatedly that international aviation can only assume its role as an enabler for economic growth sustainably, if highest levels of safety are maintained. Prerequisites for safety are uniform standards which are implemented by all stakeholders and monitored by empowered agencies. Brexit may jeopardise such standards and uniform application in Europe in the field of aviation safety, because the pertinent EU regulations could no longer apply to UK aviation stakeholders as of March 2019.
In the case of absence of any other legal basis, it is unclear whether certificates issued by the UK under EU law will still be valid, how UK registered airlines could obtain the required certification as of 30 March 2019, and how repair and maintenance companies in the UK could continue to deliver spare parts and services with the licensing as required by EU law. In order to resolve these issues and establish a legal basis to ensure a smooth transition to the application of UK law, a contingency Regulation is urgently required, should the Withdrawal Agreement not be adopted.
Although stakeholders can, in many instances, resolve issues related to the continued validity of the certificates by turning to a civil aviation authority of the EU27, or applying for a third country certificate issued by the European Aviation safety Agency (EASA), there are instances where such mitigation is not possible. These situations can only be resolved if a legal basis is established.
The EESC commends the Commission for this regulatory initiative which acknowledges specific problems which could arise in the event of a no-Withdrawal scenario in the field of aviation safety. The Regulation will provide the sector with the required assurances that the certification process will not be jeopardised during the transition of the UK from a Member State to the status of a third country. The travelling public will likewise be given the assurance, that safe operations will be provided for beyond 29 March 2019.
The EESC urges the United Kingdom to conclude bilateral safety agreements as soon as possible with the EU and with other third countries so as to establish the required consensus on the mutual recognition of certificates issued by the UK and these other parties.