U.S. Signs Air Transport Agreements with U.K. and Europe Ahead of Brexit

The governments of the United States and the United Kingdom have completed a civil air transport agreement. U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao signed the Agreement for the United States on November 10 in Washington. And U.K. State Secretary for Transport Grant Shapps signed on November 17, completing the agreement.

The agreement includes all of the essential elements of Open Skies, such as unrestricted capacity and frequency, open routes, open code-sharing opportunities, a liberal charter regime, and market-determined pricing. The agreement also provides expanded “seventh-freedom” traffic rights for all-cargo carriers and full market access to the U.K.’s overseas territories and crown dependencies. Pending the agreement’s entry into force via an exchange of diplomatic notes, both sides are prepared to apply its terms on the basis of comity and reciprocity as soon as the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement no longer applies to the United Kingdom. 

The U.K.’s transition period on leaving the EU is due to finish on January 1, 2021.

In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Commission (EC) demonstrated their continued commitment to collaboration and aviation safety improvement during the 14th meeting of the Bilateral Oversight Board, co-chaired by Ali Bahrami, the FAA’s Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety. 

The FAA and the EC signed four decisions to the U.S.-EU Safety Agreement. Two of the decisions adopted additional annexes to the original agreement for pilot licensing and flight simulators. The new annexes are new areas of collaboration between the FAA and EC. They reflect the completion of a multi-year effort to allow reciprocal acceptance of certain approvals in those areas and implement the expanded scope of the cooperative efforts agreed by the FAA and EC in December 2017.

The first decision establishes an annex that facilitates the conversion of FAA and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) private pilot certificates, airplane ratings and instrument ratings. Currently, up to 9,000 European residents hold FAA pilot certificates.

The second decision establishes an annex that allows the FAA and EU or Member State authorities to conduct recurrent evaluations on Flight Simulation Training Devices on each other’s behalf in the U.S. and in Europe.  

These annexes reduce duplication and leverage FAA and EU resources, which allows both agencies to allocate resources to higher safety-risk areas. The streamlined procedures and reduced costs will benefit industry, government and the flying public. 

The third decision allows technicians certificated by all EU aviation authorities to perform maintenance on civil aeronautical products. The final decision restores a reduction in the fees that EASA charges U.S. manufacturers for basic design changes on U.S. aerospace products.

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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