Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority is stepping up efforts to ensure that airlines and aerospace companies can carry on functioning in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The regulator has briefed government officials on its plans to recruit staff with the expertise to take over the certification of parts and planes should the split cause Britain to leave the European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa), which is currently responsible for such approvals.
Up to 20 airworthiness engineers are being sought and steps are being taken to estimate the potential workload, CAA policy director Tim Johnson told the UK Business Department.
The aim is to establish UK capability before March’s split from the EU. Airlines and manufacturers such as Airbus, which now owns the Bombardier plant in Belfast, are concerned a hard Brexit would leave jetliners and components without the required approvals.
Mr Johnson said there have been no direct discussions with Easa on no-deal contingency planning, and that the continuation of the status quo remains preferable for both the CAA and the government.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is under pressure to show that she’s ready to walk away from Brexit talks and opt for a no-deal split if EU negotiators reject the so-called Chequers Plan thrashed out at her country retreat in July.
That’s led to the publication of a tranche of documents advising UK businesses on how to prepare for the possibility of talks collapsing, with more to come.
The so-called Basas, which enable mutual recognition of certification, are currently structured with Easa. The aviation sector is anxious new accords be put in place from the point Britain quits the EU to avoid any question of flights being unable to operate, he said.
Jet-engines giant Rolls-Royce in July moved the approvals process for its products to a business-jet facility in Germany. The shift will allow Rolls to continue to get endorsements for its engines from Easa.
Bloomberg/ Irish Examiner