The Department of Transport of the United Kingdom published three technical notices on September 24, 2018, informing the British aviation sector of the consequences of a no-deal Brexit on flights, aviation safety and aviation security.

About two weeks after Sky News obtained leaked documents from the Civil Aviation Authority that were judged alarming by some media and misleading by the British authorities, it was time for the Department of Transport to shine the light on many concerns about what would happen to the British aviation if the UK government failed to reach an agreement with the European Union before March 29, 2019.

While airlines from the European Union and the United Kingdom would lose their overflight and traffic rights, and need to seek permission prior to their operations between UK and the continent, the government said it would grant European airlines the permission to land in British airports, hoping for a reciprocal move from the EU countries.

“It would not be in the interest of any EU country or the UK to restrict the choice of destinations that could be served,” says the notice, adding however that, “if such permissions are not granted, there could be disruption to some flights.” Intra-EU and intra-UK flights would however be restricted, and need approval by respectively the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Under a no-deal Brexit, the Withdrawal Act would ensure that EASA-issued pilot licenses would still be valid within the UK. They would have to be validated by the CAA for a pilot to operate international flights in an UK-registered aircraft.

“Licences and validations would be valid for up to 2 years after exit day (unless it would otherwise have expired or there was any ongoing enforcement action),” states the government. The same guarantee applies to EU cabin crew working in the UK. However, CAA-licensed pilots, cabin crew willing to work for an EU airline, they would have to reapply for an EU certification.

British parts suppliers and maintenance engineers would be affected in the same way: they would need an additional validation from the EASA before being able to provide services to an EU aircraft after the exit date.

The Department of Transport calls for the European Union through the EASA to work towards reciprocal agreement that would see the legislation of the CAA recognized the same way it is currently.

The notice adds that if the UK would leave the EASA, it would apply for a bilateral aviation safety agreement (BASA) in the same manner the United States, Brazil and Canada did between 2011 and 2013, in order to “reduce the duplication of safety oversight activities and smooth the way for the recognition of each other’s safety certificates”.

While it would leave the Single Sky Initiative that helps with the efficiency of air traffic across Europe, the United Kingdom would still be one of the 41 members of European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL), when it comes to the management of its airspace.

The UK’s main pilot union, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), welcomed the notices saying they brought “much-needed clarity” on the situation. However, the union voiced its concerns regarding the administrative struggle that British pilots would face if they had to reapply for an EU license, grounding them for what could be months. Like many players of the British aviation, the BALPA called for the government to secure UK’s seat at the EASA.