UK 'wants to stay in EU air safety body' despite Brexit red line

Posted On: 
2nd December 2017

The Government wants to stay in the EU’s air safety body despite it being overseen by the European Court of Justice, it has emerged.

International pressure may keep the UK in the EASA, it has emerged.
Credit: 
PA images

The move would contradict one of Theresa May's commitment to avoiding the oversight of EU judges after Brexit.

According to Sky News sources, pressure from UK and European airlines along with the US Federal Aviation Authority have led to the move.

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A senior source told Sky News the UK's proposal will be modelled as an "offer" to the EU, given the Government calculates 40% of the technical expertise behind EASA is from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

One source said: "It is part of the second phase negotiating process, but it would be bizarre if we couldn't be part of it.

"Plenty of countries outside of the EU are in EASA, although they don't keep voting rights".

The Government is looking to Article 66 of EASA regulations, which establishes a clear third route for outside countries.

In a future scenario where the UK is an associate member, a domestic dispute over the application of safety regulation would be under the jurisdiction of UK courts.

Captain Mike Vivian, former head of flight operations and chief flight operations inspector at the CAA, told Sky News: "If you have an alternative system of jurisdiction... if you do that in aviation, you could of course open up different safety standards.

"That would be impossible to accede to, so you have to accept the jurisdiction of the ECJ, which oversees the European agency, EASA, to avoid that happening.

"I can't see there's any way out of that. It's a red line, it seems to me, the Government is going to have to cross."