• Information from the CAA is available at info.caa.co.uk/euexit/ 

    EU exit transition period

    Following the country’s exit from the EU on 31 January 2020, the UK entered a transition period until 31 December 2020. During the transition period, EU law continues to apply and the UK and its aviation sector ontinues to participate in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) systems. The UK continues as a party to the EU Air Services Regulation and mutual recognition provisions established under the EASA Basic Regulation.  Existing agreements between the EU and third country agreements, such as agreements relating to air connectivity and aviation safety, continue to include the UK. As a result, businesses and individuals operating in the UK have seen no change to the conditions that existed prior to UK leaving EU on 31 January 2020. 

    The UK Government's position

    The UK Government has been clear that as the UK exits the EU, its aim is to ensure continued transport connectivity in support of successful economic and social ties, and as part of a deep and special future relationship.

    Negotiations with EU toward that objective have taken place from March 2020 and have not yet concluded. Different outcomes are possible, but the respective positions outlined in the EU and UK negotiating mandates make clear that the UK will no longer participate in EASA systems after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.  

    The CAA's role in EU exit

    Determining the future relationship between the EU and the UK on aviation is a matter for the UK Government in its negotiations with the EU.

    This page sets out the work that the CAA is undertaking in relation to EU withdrawal, including our readiness for a scenario where no UK-EU aviation agreements are in place at the end of the transition period. As a responsible regulator, the CAA is undertaking the following activities in preparation:

    Supporting the Government in the Brexit process: 

    • Providing technical advice and support to negotiations;
    • Providing legal and policy support in developing necessary legislation to ensure that the statute book continues to function effectively in all scenarios;
    • Working with the Department for Transport (DfT) to develop and implement Bilateral Air Safety Agreements or similar agreements with the USA, Brazil, Canada and Japan to replace those currently in place with the EU as soon as they are required.

    Implementing contingency plans for the regulation of aviation in the event of the Brexit transition period ending in December 2020 with no UK-EU aviation safety agreements in place.

    CAA support to the UK Government

    Providing technical advice

    As the UK's aviation regulator, the CAA provides ongoing advice to the Government on technical aviation matters to support the UK’s negotiations.

    Preparing for the end of the EU exit transition period

    The EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 converts existing EU law into UK law, and preserves existing UK laws that implement EU obligations. The Government has implemented associated secondary legislation to ensure an effectively functioning statute book, with the CAA's legal and policy support.

    Bilateral Air Safety Agreements

    The UK and EU have agreed that, during the transition period, the UK is to be treated as a Member State for the purposes of international agreements. This includes the EU-level Bilateral Air Safety Agreements. The DfT and CAA have worked with their counterpart national aviation authorities to put in place equivalent agreements in place with US, Canada, Brazil and Japan for the end of the transition period.

    CAA preparation should the transition period end with no UK-EU aviation safety agreements in place

    Our contingency planning is based on a scenario in which the UK Government and CAA take all reasonable steps within their control to reduce disruption to the aviation industry if a mutual recognition arrangement is not agreed.

    The CAA has developed a microsite to be a central source of information for the aviation and aerospace industries about the actions they would need to take to be prepared for no UK-EU aviation safety agreements and no continued mutual recognition at the end of the transition period. We will continue to keep this microsite updated as the negotiations progress.

    Planning assumptions if no UK-EU aviation safety agreements are in place at the end of transition period

    To help organisations with their own planning, we have listed the assumptions that we used to develop our approach for the potential scenario of no aviation safety agreements being in place at the end of the transition period. Our use of these assumptions does not mean that the CAA views this outcome as likely; they allow us as a responsible regulator to prepare for all possible eventualities.  If this scenario materialises, we have assumed that:

    • Through the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, all European aviation laws are adopted at the end of the transition period. 
    • The UK withdraws completely from the EASA system on 1 January 2021, meaning that the CAA will need to fulfil regulatory functions without having EASA as a technical agent and without having access to EASA and EU-level capabilities.
    • The UK is no longer included in EU-level Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreements. New UK agreements will come into effect.
    • There is no mutual recognition agreement between the EU and the UK for aviation licences, approvals and certificates.
    • UK-issued licences and approvals (issued when the UK was an EASA member) will continue to have validity under UK law but only those contained in EU Regulation 2019/494 will continue to have validity within the EU system, as defined by that regulation.
    • The EU treats UK airlines as Third Country Operators.
    • All licences issued by the CAA under EU legislation, and all type approval certificates and third country approvals issued by EASA under EU legislation, will continue to have validity under UK law, provided they were effective immediately before 1 January 2021.
    • The UK has minimised additional requirements for licences, approvals and certificates from EU aviation and aerospace companies providing services and goods in the UK.

    Bringing EU regulation into UK law

    In an absence of UK-EU aviation safety agreements, a number of regulatory processes would need to exist within the UK system so that we are able to continue to regulate the UK aviation industry. We have been adjusting existing systems so that they can continue to work in exactly the same way as now – but with the UK Government and the CAA fulfilling regulatory functions independently of the EU.

    Developing new functions and capabilities

    Within this scenario, translating EU aviation law into UK law will require the CAA to take on new functions, some of which are currently delivered by EASA. The CAA has implemented plans to fulfil these functions should they be needed following the end of the transition period. As an example, the CAA has created the capability required for the UK to fulfil State of Design responsibilities independently of EASA should that be needed. 

    Air Transport Agreements

    The CAA has no direct role in the negotiation of air transport agreements, which govern the rights to fly between two countries. These are formal treaties and are negotiated directly between governments.