Brexit and civil aviation - summary

On 30 March 2019, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. The outcome of the exit negotiations is still uncertain, and there is a risk of the UK leaving the EU in what is being described as a hard Brexit. If this turns out to be the case, consequences for civil aviation may be far-reaching.

The purpose of this report is to describe the consequences for Swedish civil aviation operators in case of a hard Brexit, and to identify areas where it is especially important to reach agreements before the UK leaves the EU.

Maintaining air traffic is the key priority in case of a hard Brexit. The air traffic between the UK and Sweden is considerable, amounting to just over 2.8 million passengers travelling between the two countries every year. However, the Swedish Transport Agency expects that the UK and Sweden, having common interests, will create the basis for temporary solutions pending a new air transport agreement.

In the negotiations, it is also important to give priority to the continued validity of personal licences and permits. A hard Brexit will result in personal licences and permits issued by the UK losing their validity in the EU. For this reason, UK licenced pilots, technicians, air traffic controllers etc. working for EU approved organisations will need some kind of validation of their documents, if possible. Otherwise, they will have to apply for an EU license/permit.

Air operators owned or controlled by British citizens need to review their ownership, in order not to lose their Swedish operating licence. The Swedish Transport Agency maintains a dialogue with the air operators concerned.

If the British leave the European Union the hard way, passengers and luggage arriving from UK Airports for transfer at an EU airport will have to go through the security checks again. This will not affect Swedish airports to a very large extent though, since these passengers are already being handled in the same passenger flows as third country passengers. It may, however, have some consequences for airports, since transfer baggage cannot be sent on without first being passed through a new security check. It is essential that airports establish procedures for this.

A hard Brexit will lead to an increased pressure on the Swedish Transport Agency. Tough priorities will be necessary in some areas, but the Swedish Transport Agency considers this to be possible without causing the aviation industry too much inconvenience.