MAKING A SUCCESS OF BREXIT
The legal framework for airlines to fly in Europe is underpinned by the Single Market for Aviation Service Provision in Europe and the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) – or the Single European Sky. It allows any EU airline to operate from, between and within any country of the EEA in return for compliance with safety requirements and economic cooperation. Access to the Single Market for Aviation in Europe will be essential in allowing the aviation industry to operate competitively. If agreements cannot be reached within the Article 50 period, an interim agreement may be required to ensure flights can continue in a legally compliant manner. Aviation agreements are usually negotiated separately to economic agreements.
The UK has played a leading role in EU aviation regulation, particularly in the European Aviation Safety Association (EASA). The UK should continue to play a leadership role given the size of its network and manufacturing industry. However, if this is no longer possible as the UK leaves the EU, it will be advantageous for the UK to maintain influence in determining European aviation policy over the long-term.
Aviation will need a pipeline of highly skilled employees across a wide range of areas including engineering, manufacturing and services to remain competitive. Access to apprentices, graduates, as well as professionals and STEM skills from across the EU is also key to the success of the sector. Airlines operating in Europe are international businesses, often employing a combination of international and local staff.
A number of airspace access agreements the UK currently participates in have been bilaterally agreed between the EU and third countries. As the UK leaves the EU, new arrangements will need to be put in place prior to leaving to prevent any hiatus in the UK's connectivity. A principle concern lies around the 'Open Skies' regime, the aviation agreement between the US and EU, and the implications for access to Trans-Atlantic routes. This regime allows US airlines to fly between EU airports and EU airlines to fly from the US to non-EU countries. No longer being part of the 'Open Skies' agreement would pose a significant risk to the UK's aviation industry given the UK's geographic position between Europe and North America. It could have harmful implications for the attractiveness of the UK aviation market for foreign airlines.
UK Aerospace currently receives funding from the EU through Horizon2020 and SESAR (Single European Skies). Maintaining levels of investment in Research & Development in the aerospace sector will be vital to keeping the UK's position as the largest aerospace industry in Europe and second in the world. While the government has committed to underwrite Horizon 2020 funding after the UK leaves the EU, long-term programmes and schemes should replace current funding mechanisms. The UK aerospace manufacturing sector generates annual exports of £26billion and has an estimated global market opportunity of £3.5 trillion over the next twenty years. It also employs over 100,000 highly skilled British workers  and provides technology and research that has significant catalytic spin off benefits to the wider UK economy.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal covering aviation access, the ability of UK airlines to fly to, between and within EU countries and the US would be legally dubious. It is imperative – both for the transportation of persons and of goods – that this is avoided, through interim arrangements if necessary.
For aviation at the CBI, contact: Samir Nanji on 0)7739 494 068 or Samir.Nanji@cbi.org.uk