The UK CAA and EASA from 1st January 2021

August 4th, 2020

We have received many personal requests for advice on the issue of post-Brexit UK licencing, EASA theory credits, flight training and Austro-Control.

The first thing we need to point out is that these comments are provided in the absence of any official information from any national aviation authority, EASA, or any governmental organisations.

Is the UK leaving EASA when Brexit happens?

August 4th, 2020

Brexit is not happening on 31st December 2020; it has already happened. The UK left the EU on 31st January 2020. The UK and EU are now in a transition arrangement, during which trading agreements are to be discussed and put in place by 31st December 2020; if you monitor the press you will know that these are far from concluded.

You also need to understand that trading laws and aviation laws are two different things. However important your training is to you, and we appreciate that it is important, aviation laws do not hold primacy over trading laws. Aviation will be a part of the overall trading deal. We have requested and await information from the UK CAA on post-EASA proposals, but any announcements by the UK CAA are constrained by UK-EU trade talks. The UK CAA operates under the oversight of the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and the DfT is part of the trade talks. Aviation is only one part of the big picture.

Will my Austro-Control exams be accepted after the UK leaves EASA?

August 4th, 2020

Prior to the first proposed Brexit date (29th March 2019) the UK stated verbally to all theoretical knowledge (TK) approved training organisations (ATOs) that there would be a transition phase post 29th March 2019, whereby EASA ATPL TK theory credits and flight training, etc. would be accepted for UK licence issue for a period of 2 years from 29th March 2019. As we know, two things subsequently occurred: firstly, the UK did not leave the EU until 31st January 2020, and secondly, the UK did not leave EASA. The former happened on 31st January 2020 and the latter is due to happen on 31st December 2020.

If you are taking your exams under Austro-Control and intend to apply for UK licence issue you must be aware that ATPL theory credits are valid for 36 calendar months from the date of your final TK exam, but you may also be constrained by the length of time that the UK agrees to accept EASA ATPL theory credits.

Anybody applying for a UK licence from 1 January 2021 onwards will require UK ATPL theory credits for UK licence issue; except that the UK government (NOT the CAA, although the UK CAA Legal Department may draft that legislation) may introduce law that will permit EASA ATPL theory credits to be accepted when applying for UK licences for a period of time. We do not know at this point in time how long that period will be. If the UK stands by its original plan to permit EASA theory credits to be accepted for UK licence issue for a period of 2 years, that would mean your EASA theory credits would be valid to 31 December 2022, or their original 36 months expiry date, whichever comes first.

During this transition period you must be issued with BOTH your CPL and a full IR (SEIR will suffice but an IR(R) does not qualify). If both are not issued within the 36 months period then you will need to retake virtually all ATPL exams to renew full ATPL credits.

What if I get an EASA licence now and convert it to a UK licence after the transition agreement?

August 4th, 2020

You will be treated like any other third party country licence holder and subject to the requirements for licence conversion, i.e. you will need to retake ALL ATPLs and undertake training as required for CPL and IR plus the skills tests. The same will apply for anyone applying for an EASA licence on the basis of a UK licence.

Can I fly in the UK on an EASA licence?

August 4th, 2020

Eventually, an EASA licence will be required for EASA registered aircraft and a UK licence for UK registered aircraft, PLUS it is highly probable that you will require a UK licence to operate EASA registered aircraft based in the UK (and vice versa), in the same manner that you need an EASA licence to operate N registered aircraft based in the UK - airlines are putting measures in place by registering aircraft with the state in which they intend to base them.

You also need to consider your nationality status and the right to work, reside or study in the EU.

If you have dual nationality with the UK and an EU member state, you have no issues; but if you hold a UK passport only, you may need to go through additional administrative steps to obtain the right to work, reside or study in the EU from 1st January 2021. You may require work permits (although these will probably be sponsored by employing airlines) or student visas, if you intend to undertake training in the EU from 1 January 2021? The same applies to EU citizens applying for a job or training in the UK. Until the trading agreements are finalised, we do not know what procedures will be adopted, but we do expect there will be fairly straightforward processes put in place.

Think about what you would need to do to fly for an American airline based in the USA, and that will give you an idea what to expect, except in all probability, it will be far less onerous than the requirements for visiting and/or working in some countries.

When will we know what is happening for certain?

August 4th, 2020

We continue to press the UK CAA for announcements on acceptance of EASA TK and flight training credits, but the simple truth is that you will probably be made aware of such changes at the same time as the rest of us.

The bottom line is that this is simply our best forecast of upcoming events and we don’t actually know what will happen for certain until the UK government and the UK CAA make formal announcements.

Therefore, all of the above is offered under the caveat of “We don’t know for certain what is going to happen and can only offer our best guess at this moment in time”.

BUT, you should be considering your options right now.

Lastly, we are very sorry, but we do not have the time to enter into personal consultancy with anyone on these or any other issues. As we gain further information we will post it here.