Another EU membership harvest: the UK’s Aircraft certification surrender 2007

In 2007 the Blair government pushed the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to surrender its right and duty to certify aircraft engines and aircraft to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) with headquarters in Germany.

Instead of its comprehensive pre-2007 role, the CAA is now reduced to being EASA’s branch office in the United Kingdom. Its independent authority is restricted to peripheral duties like overseeing air-traffic controllers, disputes between customers and airlines, and the Air Travel Organiser Licensing (ATOL) certificates.

The poisonous fruit of this particular surrender to the EU’s aggrandisement

This is now plain for all to see as EASA has entered into numerous working arrangements with non-EU countries to recognise each other’s certification, the latest being the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, modelled on the UK’s own CAA. Other certification swops include the USA (Federal Aviation Authority FAA) and Canada, with all of whom the UK’s CAA had worked harmoniously – indeed seamlessly – since its formal establishment in 1972.

But the EASA has been blocked by the European Commission, whether legally or not, from even discussing such an arrangement with the UK’s CAA for operations post-Brexit on March 29th. In 2004 the EU unilaterally declared a “Single European Sky” (SES) to be responsible to it for air-traffic management (ATM) covering 4 million square miles of so-called “European” Airspace[1] and around 27,000 daily flights without a squeak of protest from the Blair government. This brought the EU into immediate conflict with NATO, which forced the SES and the European ATM to accept that its flight plans would simply be reported to them to take account of and respect.

Now, thankfully, the national airlines and major non-national operators like Easyjet plus international engine and aircraft makers like Rolls Royce and Airbus have belatedly woken up to the fact that by withholding a mutual licensing recognition agreement with the British authorities, the European Commission is bent on causing maximum damage to Britain after March 29th 2019 without regard to collateral damage to anyone else, EU and non-EU states alike.

Grounding of British registered aircraft

Refusing to recognise UK air-worthiness certificates and refusing to allow British airports to receive EU registered aircraft after 29th March would of course be blackmail on the largest scale – with effects greater even than those imposed on Iran by the USA – almost a declaration of war in fact. Such a threat by the European Commission requires all Britons, whether Leavers or Remainers, MPs of all parties, businessmen, civil servants or whatever, to rally to the cause of defeating this blackmail.

What the UK government should do now

1          It should tell the latest pathetic scaremongers, the big food retailers, that they should stop whining about the loss of cheese and wine supplies and so on from the Continent and make alternative arrangements to source supplies from non-EU countries, including especially the UK itself.

2          It should instruct the CAA to build up its expertise to resume its pre-2007 independent existence in air certification procedures, by recruiting (a) from among the 1500 Rolls Royce engineers about to be made redundant, and (b) from British engineers working for the EASA. The government will need to pay the CAA for this, as unlike similar bodies in other countries (including EASA of course) it has no government financial support.

3          It should decide how any duties the UK has to impose on imported EU goods in retaliation for those imposed by the EU on British exports to them, can be returned to British consumers and companies supplying them. Talks on this point should be urgently instigated with the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

4          It should ensure that any planning licences needed by Euro-facing British ports to expand capacity to reduce congestion at Dover are provided swiftly by the relevant local authorities along with any additional road and rail facilities needed to take advantage of the expansion of the ports.

5          It should make it crystal clear to all the EU governments that the no-deal scenario would mean precisely that there would be: no “divorce” alimony; no special arrangements for EU nationals entering Britain in the future; no special border arrangements with the Irish Republic.

6          It should ensure that the planned redeployment of the remaining British Army units from Germany to the UK will be completed in 2019 and not reversed (as mooted by some senior Army figures in June). There will be no special arrangements to defend Europe, other than under our NATO obligations. Where necessary to replace training grounds in Germany, the British Army’s 8,000 square miles of training grounds and staff in Suffield (Alberta) Canada will be expanded in agreement obviously with its Canadian authorities.

7          It should publicly remind those EU countries, including Germany, which are also members of NATO, of their obligations under the NATO treaty which are not to take or support actions having a direct effect on the war-making abilities of their allies.

8          The government needs urgently to accelerate the expansion of electronic systems for customs clearances remote from the UK ports and at permitted Northern Ireland land crossing points, including the use of combined VAT and Duty paid certificates[2], whatever the outcome of the EU-UK negotiations.


[1]        The combined area of the EU states is about 1.2 million square miles.

[2]        See SFB letter to Daily Telegraph, May 17th 2018 and Technomica Paper 6 2018_1_3.

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