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  • The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is responsible for developing common standards of safety and environmental protection in civil aviation across the EU.
  • The UK is currently in a transition period with the European Union since leaving on 31 January 2020. As such, the UK can no longer take part in any decision making at EASA, but EASA’s regulations continue to apply to the UK.
  • The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates UK airlines to ensure they comply with EASA standards. On its website, the CAA stated that it considers continued participation in the EASA system as “the most positive outcome for UK consumers and the aviation industry”.
  • As part of the political declaration between the UK and EU, published on 19 October 2019, the UK Government had agreed to consider “close cooperation” between EASA and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
  • On 6 March 2020, the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said in an interview with the US publication Aviation Week Network that the UK will leave EASA after the transition period, which is due to end on 31 December 2020.
  • Mr Shapps stated that the CAA will take on additional powers following the UK’s departure from EASA. In a statement on 9 March 2020, the CAA said that it is “prepared to take over regulatory responsibilities from EASA”.
  • In a briefing published in September 2017, the Royal Aeronautical Society considered the areas that would need to be covered by the CAA if the UK were to leave EASA. The society stated that repatriating such elements was “technically feasible” but questioned “whether it was advisable or desirable”. Their report focused on areas such as: design and approvals; component maintenance; pilot and engineer certification; and airline certification.
  • The ADS, the UK trade organisation which represents the aerospace, defence, security and space sector, has stated that the Government’s decision “is a gamble with much at stake, but without any clear prize on offer”.

On 19 March 2020, Lord Whitty (Labour) is due to ask Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment led to their decision not to participate in the European Union Aviation Safety Agency; and what plans they have to address any gap in regulatory oversight which results from that decision”. 

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