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European Aviation Safety Agency

Question for Department for Transport

UIN HL2450, tabled on 10 March 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the aerospace sector was formally consulted prior to their announcement that they plan to leave the European Union Aviation Safety Agency; and if so, what was the view of that sector of the potential impact of those plans on aviation safety.

Answered on

23 March 2020

The Prime Minister has been clear that our future relationship with the EU must not entail any application of EU law in the UK or CJEU jurisdiction, or indeed laws and regulations made by the EU Commission (as was the case with EASA). Continued UK participation in the EASA system would have been inconsistent with this approach. We want to agree a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) with the EU to minimise regulatory burdens for industry.

The UK has the third largest aviation network in the world and the biggest in Europe, with direct flights to more than 370 international destinations in some 100 countries. Air travel is important for both the UK and the EU in connecting people and businesses, facilitating tourism and trade. Aviation and aerospace are critical industries to both the UK and the EU and we have a common interest in ensuring that they can continue to thrive.

The Civil Aviation Authority currently oversees most aspects of civil aviation safety in the UK. After the transition period the CAA will take on some additional functions from EASA and will continue to ensure that the UK has world-leading safety standards.

The CAA has been preparing for the possibility of leaving the EASA system since the EU referendum in 2016, including recruiting new staff across the organisation. The CAA will continue to refine these plans over the coming months, and may require additional resources.

There has been regular and open engagement with the aviation and aerospace industries on this subject.

The EU made it clear in its public mandate (25 February) that it is willing to negotiate regulatory cooperation on aviation safety but its mandate does not provide for UK participation in EASA. In the UK’s published negotiating position (27 February) the UK has made it clear that it is also willing to negotiate regulatory cooperation with the EU through a BASA and that EASA participation is not an option. That both the UK and EU are seeking regulatory cooperation on aviation safety, increases the likelihood of concluding these negotiations before the end of 2020 and provides certainty to industry.

The Aviation Week interview with the Secretary of State for Transport on the subject of EASA participation was published on 6 March 2020.

The UK does not make direct contributions to EASA. EASA activities are funded mainly through contributions from charges to industry and the remainder through contributions from the EU and participating states.

Most EASA staff are employed directly by EASA and based in Cologne and it is the decision for UK nationals employed by EASA whether they remain within the agency. The CAA has previously had a small number of secondees working in EASA but these individuals have all now returned.