UK Government and EU trading agreement welcomed by industry

Posted on 4 January, 2021 by Advance 

The reaching of an agreement over future trading relationships by the UK Government and the EU - including those involving aviation - has been welcomed by the CAA, ADS, airports and airlines.

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The agreement, providing parliamentary ratification on both sides is achieved, means that direct air connectivity between the UK and the EU will be maintained and that additional regulatory responsibilities for the UK aviation and aerospace sectors as a whole will be less than would otherwise have been the case.

The agreement – alongside the others that have been put in place with other states including the US, Canada, Brazil, Japan and Singapore - means that we now have the foundations on which we can look to build stronger relationships in the years ahead. These first agreements following the UK’s exit from the EU were always going to be the most difficult to achieve but now they have come into existence and we can look forward to developing ways of working with our neighbours and partners – both in the EU and the wider world - in the interests of industry, consumers and safety across the globe.

As an industry, we need to understand that the UK-EU aviation agreements, on air transport and safety, are not a straightforward continuation of the status quo. While there are some elements of continuity, there are also important operational areas that fall outside the scope of the agreements as they stand.

It follows that if your organisation’s activities are not covered by the agreements, then you should continue to be guided by the ‘no deal’ advice we have been issuing for many months – and which will continue to be updated on the CAA's UK-EU transition microsite

The CAA will be studying the detail of the agreements closely and communicate further when it has a fuller understanding of how the provisions will work in practice. 

In partnership with the Department for Transport, the CAA have prepared for the new regulatory framework that came into effect at 23.00 GMT on 31st December:

all current technical requirements will be retained in UK domestic regulation;

all type certificates and certificates of release to service for aeronautical products and parts issued on or before 31 December 2020 remain valid;

all other certificates, approvals and licences issued in accordance with EASA (EU Aviation Safety Agency) requirements that are in effect on 31 December 2020 will remain valid under UK law for two years unless they expire sooner;

the UK's safety arrangements with countries beyond the EU will continue;

new CAA systems for approving aircraft parts and licensing overseas airlines will come into effect;

consumer protection for air travellers will be as strong as before; and

aviation security standards will be maintained as rigorously as before.

The UK-EU trade deal is an important element of the transition to new aviation relationships. Within the framework of that deal, the CAA is fully committed to working with all sections of the aviation and aerospace industries to help make this transition as smooth as possible.

Commenting on the announcement of a Brexit deal being agreed, ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said: “The UK aerospace, defence, space and security industries welcome the agreement of a deal on the UK’s future relationship with the EU. A deal provides the best framework for our relationship with European allies and industrial partners.

“We recognise the deal does not meet all our ambitions and will examine the full legal text to ensure priority areas including aviation safety and chemicals regulation, customs and border control, and Northern Ireland are appropriately addressed.

“There is now just one week remaining until the end of the transition period, and it will be difficult for businesses to be ready in time.

“The Government must issue swift, clear and comprehensive advice to businesses on preparations and work urgently to put all necessary arrangements in place.”

Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, said: “We note the Commission’s guidance but clearly this now needs to be enacted by EU member states, who have so far put in place their own rules. It remains to be seen what action they will take but our position remains that testing rather than flight bans is the only way to facilitate travel and get the economy and aviation moving again.”

Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association Karen Dee said: “We welcome that the UK and EU have reached a deal that provides much needed certainty for passengers and our aviation sector.

“Our airports have faced the greatest challenge in the history of aviation over the last year, with the brutal impacts of the pandemic likely to last well into next year.

“We will continue to engage constructively with the Government on some of the challenges that will arise from the new EU-UK relationship and on the urgent need for a full aviation recovery package to enable airports to support the government’s global Britain ambitions.

“This must be matched with the elimination of quarantine which is currently holding back passenger demand by putting in place a comprehensive, UK-wide testing system, which could include cheaper and quicker tests as well as pre-departure tests.”

Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), said: “The whole Travel & Tourism sector will be breathing a sigh of relief that the EU and UK government have been able to agree a deal at the 11th hour.

“It is good news for a sector which has been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic and which feared the consequences of a no-deal Brexit. Thankfully this worrying outcome has been avoided and now the sector can look ahead to 2021 with more confidence.

“But British holidaymakers could face higher health costs and added red tape. The devil will be in the detail of the deal – and only time will tell what the true consequences are for travellers.

“WTTC stands ready to work closely with governments and other key organisations in Travel & Tourism to help implement testing and WTTC Safe Travels protocols to enable the recovery of the sector.

“We continue to call for the end of crippling quarantines and damaging travel restrictions which will only set back further the economic recovery, and instead replace them with a comprehensive, quick turnaround testing regime on departure. This is the only way this sector, which is critical to powering the UK - and the global economy - will survive.”