Importance of EASA highlighted in House of Lords debate

Today Lord Chidgey warned in the House of Lords that transatlantic trade in aerospace products will become more costly for industry unless the Government outlines how UK aviation will be regulated post-Brexit.

His question was seeking reassurances from the Government that they can give the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clarity on the UK’s plans for regulating the aviation sector once the UK leaves the European Union. Currently, the UK is a member of the European Aviation Safety Agency which has bilateral agreements in place with the FAA, allowing the aviation sector to work to a single set of regulations when exporting across Europe, the US and Canada.

Lord Chidgey wrote for Politics Home before today’s question stating,

“Unless the Government commits to full membership or complete replication of EASA rules post-Brexit, and avoids creating a whole new system – which is not advocated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority – UK aerospace manufacturers, maintenance facilities and airlines will have to pay for regulatory compliance with the FAA to enable their products to be fitted to US-certified aircraft. The alternative, hard to countenance, might involve UK aircraft being flown to other countries with US-approved facilities to be fixed.”

ADS agrees with Lord Chidgey that significant time and cost would be required to rebuild the certification capabilities of the UK CAA. Estimates suggest that 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.

The Aviation Minister, Baroness Sugg, responded to Lord Chidgey’s question saying she recognises the need for “a speedy agreement” and ministers are “actively examining” the feasibility of remaining in EASA. She stated the UK has a strong relationship with the US agencies and hopes that will continue.

ADS will continue to make the case for the UK to secure access to and influence in EASA once we leave the European Union. You can read more about ADS’ position on leaving the European Union and our new preparing for Brexit guide on the ADS website here.