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The Post Brexit Impact on Private Aviation...

A group of people walking towards an airplane

While agreement has been reached on Brexit between the UK and the European Union, the details and the agreements impact on Private Aviation are still being ironed out; currently there is no timeframe to conclude all of the issues.

On a positive note under the agreement signed on the 24thof December, it was agreed to mutually recognise ‘The Third Freedom of The Air’, ‘The Fourth Freedom of The Air’ and ‘The Fifth Freedom of The Air’ which grant the right or privilege for scheduled international air services to put down or take on traffic from State to State. This essentially grants automatic permits for UK operators to fly between the UK and EU member States and likewise for EU operators. Additionally, there appears to be no impact on overflights through each-others airspace.

However, although permits will be granted, permits must be REQUESTED for EVERY flight between the UK and the EU and currently we are anticipating these permits could take up to 48 hours, making last minute travel or ‘Go Now’ flights between the UK and the EU extremely difficult. The UK CAA is already offering a Block Permit for EU Non-Scheduled Charter Operators to allow them access to the UK without having to request approval every time. This will speed up the process for flights into the UK however the individual EU member States currently have not offered the same solution although it appears that Italy has most recently agreed to a reciprocal arrangement. It is hoped but not definitive, that all EU Member States will agree within a reasonable period of time.

A large jetliner sitting on top of an airport tarmac

Additionally, it appears that operators will find some difficulty in operating internal domestic flights outside of their home State as they have to apply for Third Country Operator (TCO) approval which verifies the Safety Standards of the operator. So, an EU registered aircraft will have to apply for TCO approval from the CAA to operate an internal flight in the UK and vice versa a UK operator will have to do the same with the EASA. It remains unclear if TCO approvals will be granted and how long it will take to reach agreement.

The cockpit of an airplane with two monitors

International travel to the UK and EU from across the globe remains unaffected and unchanged and subject to the current regulations governing each country. However International travellers should be mindful of using UK or EU registered aircraft for domestic or multi-leg flights within the opposite territory, please do call us for advice with specific itineraries or for flights that originate and end within either territory.

There is also potentially a VAT issue as there was no specific reference to how VAT Free Circulation status of Aircraft will be dealt with although clarity is expected in the near future. We would advise professional tax advice on this matter until clarity is given.

There is a strong appetite for all of these details to be agreed and it is hoped that disruptions should not be felt for too long however it is our advice to try and schedule travel (UK lockdown not withstanding) as far in advance as possible and with at least 48 hours’ notice. Additionally, remain as flexible as possible especially with multi-leg travel as it is likely that different operators will need to be used for different itineraries depending on the city of departure and arrival. Lastly it is quite possible that as operators are potentially restricted to flying domestically within their own State we may see a shortage of available aircraft and potentially a strengthening of flight prices, we will of course do everything to mitigate any additional cost and again advise to plan as far in advance as possible.

For the most up to date news or advice on specific itineraries please email or call us on +44 (0) 20 3651 5665.


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