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EU, UK issue more no-deal Brexit guidance for air transport


Both the European Union (EU) and the UK have announced measures designed to smooth air transport connections in the event of the UK departing the bloc in six weeks’ time (Brexit) without a deal.

A distinct difference in attitude toward this situation was evident in the two camps’ Feb. 15 announcements; the EU talked of “severe disruption” to air connectivity in the event of no deal being agreed, while the UK, giving an update on security measures for air passengers and cargo traveling to and from the EU, emphasized that the status quo on security would largely be maintained.

In its announcement, the EU said that member states’ ambassadors in the European Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee approved the Romanian presidency of the EU—the presidency is held on a rotating, six-monthly basis—“to negotiate with the European Parliament on a proposal, which enables UK-licensed carriers to provide basic air transport services between the UK and the remaining 27 member states. These rights will be conditional on equivalent rights being conferred by the UK and subject to conditions ensuring fair competition.”

It added that a special provision would ensure the right to continue to provide scheduled flights under public service obligations (Essential Air Services in US parlance) until Oct. 26, 2019, to ensure their continuity while national authorities adapted to the new situation.

Limited codesharing and aircraft leasing arrangements, including wet lease, would be allowed under certain conditions, it added.

“If, as a result of Brexit, an air carrier holding an operating license issued by an EU member state ceases to comply with EU ownership and control requirements, it will have until 26 October 2019 to fully meet all those requirements. Air carriers will have two weeks from the entry into force of the regulation to submit a precise and complete plan presenting the measures intended to achieve full compliance with the ownership and control requirements as from Oct. 27, 2019 at the latest.”

In background notes to the announcement, the EU added that all contingency measures for a no-deal Brexit “are exceptional in nature and strictly time-limited. The transport connectivity measures are not intended to replicate the status quo under EU law, but rather to preserve basic connectivity between the EU and the UK.”

Meanwhile, the overall tenor of the UK’s updated security advice is that the status quo will largely remain.

“If the UK leaves the EU … without an agreement in place on aviation security, the existing aviation security regulations and procedures will be retained in domestic law under the EU Withdrawal Act,” the UK Department for Transport (DfT) said.

The DfT noted the EU had stated that “it intends to recognize the UK aviation security regime and include it in the ‘One Stop Security’ system for passengers and cargo.”

The EU’s regulations provide for the recognition of security standards applied in a non-EU country, such as the UK after March, where those standards are equivalent to those of the EU.

That recognition allows “One Stop Security,” where passengers, baggage and/or cargo arriving into the EU do not need to be subjected again to security controls when transferring at EU airports.

This, the DfT said, means that security screening requirements for all direct passenger flights to and from the UK would remain as they are today.

“The EU has stated that it will recognize UK passenger and baggage screening. This means that passengers flying from the UK will continue to be able to transfer at an EU airport for an onward flight without experiencing additional security rescreening procedures.”

As for freight, “The UK intends to recognize EU cargo security from the outset and will not require new cargo security designations for carriers from EU airports. This recognizes that security standards are already aligned and equivalent.

“The EU has stated that it intends to recognize the UK cargo security regime as equivalent and allow cargo to continue to fly into the EU. This means that cargo can fly from the UK to the EU without a security designation.”

However, the EU’s inbound cargo regime means that carriers flying cargo into the EU (including the UK currently) from the rest of the world must hold a security designation.

“If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK would not be part of the EU scheme. The UK will operate a separate UK-only inbound cargo regime, which will mirror the EU scheme.”

To minimize barriers to international trade, the UK will grant security designations for cargo that mirror those that exist within the EU for cargo flying into the UK from non-EU countries.



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