The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has released a position paper in which it calls for the parties in Brexit negotiations to “safeguard the air traffic network in the European region” for the good of the economy and consumers.
The paper explains the ERA’s views on Brexit, the popular term used for the UK vote on June 23, 2016, to leave the European Union, and calls for the EU and UK to reach a wide-reaching aviation agreement at least 12 months before the deadline for negotiation ends in March 2019. The UK-based association said it designed the paper to “assist policymakers and those involved in the negotiations regarding the future aviation arrangements between the EU and the UK.”
“Europe has one of the most liberal and effective air transport markets in the world…facilitated by the deregulation of the industry,” said the ERA in a statement. The paper makes three core recommendations that the association believes would “maintain a healthy, well-connected European aviation industry.”
First, it calls for an EU-UK bilateral agreement “comprehensively guided by the spirit of EU Regulation 1008/2008.” This, it said, will minimize service disruption. Second, it suggests that authorities should pay particular attention in the bilateral agreement to protecting four key principles enshrined in 1008/2008: namely, the conditions for granting an operating license, the requirements to obtain an air operator's certificate (AOC), the provision on leasing and the provision of intra-community air services.
Third, the ERA would like to see the continued application of European Aviation Safety Agency regulatory standards to UK operators and “undertakings” to support common safety compliance and a competitive, harmonized supply chain for aircraft parts and materials across the wider European region.
“ERA’s position is focused on ensuring open and free traffic rights for all EU and UK carriers between the EU and the UK,” said the association's manager for policy and technical matters, Caroline O'Sullivan. “ERA is also focusing on ensuring that EASA regulations continue to apply to the UK carriers and that the EU and UK carriers can continue to freely lease aircraft to each other without prior approval.”
The ERA paper warns that the absence of an agreement would mean traffic rights between the EU and the UK would lapse, “leaving uncertainty for businesses, consumers and aviation on the future of air services between the EU and the UK.”
“If there is no legal foundation established to underpin traffic rights…by March 2018, European flight operations will face paralysis,” it concluded.
The association is in the process of appointing a new director general and will hold its annual General Assembly in Athens, Greece, from October 17 to 19.