aviation airplane manufacturing

UK aerospace firms fleeing the CAA over Brexit concerns

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According to the Guardian, companies in the British aerospace sector are moving to a European regulator and away from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) so that they can continue to do business in Europe after Brexit.

The Guardian reported on Sunday that more than 600 firms have now applied to join the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as third-country parties that are cleared to do business within the single market.

The CAA regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the UK and currently gives approval for British-made parts to be used across the EU: a power it will lose once the UK leaves the bloc. Without joining the EASA, British aerospace companies could lose huge swathes of their European business.

In October, the EASA opened the new scheme for aerospace firms concerned about losing access to the single market. It is estimated that 800 companies could make use of the scheme. British companies Rolls-Royce, Cobham and Meggitt have already applied for the scheme along with Canada’s Bombadier and GE Aviation from the US.

But even those firms working with the European regulator are expected to suffer some consequences from Brexit, most severely in the case of the UK and EU27 failing to reach a deal on future terms. In January, an Institute of Mechanical Engineers report claimed many companies will lose investment and suffer from supply-chain problems in the wake of a no-deal Brexit. Airbus even said that such a scenario could force it to move all its manufacturing operations out of the UK.

The UK’s aerospace sector currently employs around 260,000 people, according to lobby group ADS. A no-deal Brexit could see billions of pounds of extra duties imposed upon British companies looking to export their products.

In June the policy director of the CAA advocated for a unified traffic management system for all airborne vehicles in the UK partly due to increasing concerns over drone use and the danger they pose to other aircraft. 

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