The transition period avoids the immediate prospect of a “hard” Brexit, but can only delay it until 2021 if no new deal is reached. Andrew Haines, Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK Aviation Supervisory Authority, has proposed that the UK should be able to negotiate individually with EuCAA member states in the absence of an agreement with the EU as a whole. This could allow the UK to circumvent certain EU rules and even court jurisprudence. The issue of Gibraltar could also be circumvented if no agreement is reached with Spain. However, it is not certain that this is compatible with EU law. Moreover, it would be very complex and tedious to conclude agreements that all offer nine freedoms. A new agreement between the UK and the EU, similar to the existing “open skies” agreement, seems to be the most likely option. It should be reiterated, however, that this is not an idea supported by the Court, unless it guarantees full harmonisation and the maintenance of harmonization of safety, employment, competition and consumer protection. Nor would the Court support the dilution of the AOC and other regulatory requirements that are maintained with the party concerned.
Under this specific agreement, the European Commission should be empowered to carry out the audit and enforce this rule to EU-designated airlines, which would be in line with the EU proposal, which considers the EU as a single entity/contracting party to the agreement. To assist organizations in their own planning, we listed the assumptions we used to develop our approach to the potential scenario that there will be no aviation safety agreements at the end of the transition period. Our use of these assumptions does not mean that the CAA thinks this result is likely; they allow us, as a responsible regulator, to prepare for any eventuality. If this is the case, we assume that the air agreement – signed on behalf of the United States by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Transport Minister Elaine Chao – will effectively replace the existing air agreement between the EU and the United States. The EU-US AGREEMENT was signed in 2007 and established a legal framework “to promote safe, affordable, cost-effective and competitive air transport” between the two blocs. This risk disappeared following the approval of the withdrawal agreement, but in the air transport sector, planning could prove decisive if the transition period ends without agreement on future trade agreements between the UK and the EU. It would apply until an air services agreement with the United Kingdom comes into force or on 30 March 2020, with the nearest date being chosen. In order to reduce the risk of the “cliff” of the abandonment of traffic rights between the UK and the rest of the European internal aviation market, the two sides have tentatively reached an agreement on “bald bones”. This would take up to 12 months from the date of departure from the UK or until a new comprehensive air transport agreement is agreed. Britain could negotiate a similar agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina to reintegrate the ECAA as a non-EU country. British airlines would continue to enjoy all nine flight freedoms. However, this would require the unanimous support of each Member State.
This is highly unlikely, as Spain has hinted that it will veto any agreement that includes Gibraltar International Airport. The UK Government has made it clear that the UK`s withdrawal from the EU is aimed at providing permanent transport links to support fruitful economic and social relations and within the framework of a deep and special future relationship.