Reasons for and objectives of the proposal
The United Kingdom submitted on 29 March 2017 the notification of its intention to withdraw from the Union pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. This means that, if the Withdrawal Agreement1 is not ratified, the Unions’ primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the United Kingdom from 30 March 2019 (‘the withdrawal date’). The United Kingdom will then become a third country.
The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union without an agreement affects in particular the validity of certificates and licenses originating from the United Kingdom issued under Regulation (EU) 2018/11392 and the implementing and delegated acts adopted by virtue of that Regulation or of Regulation (EC) No 216/20083.
The Commission Communication on ‘Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019: a Contingency Action Plan’4 has set out the contingency measures it plans to take for the case that no withdrawal agreement will enter into force on the withdrawal date. In this Communication, the Commission has underlined that will not remedy the lack of preparedness measures by stakeholders, or delays in their implementation.
In the area of aviation safety, in most cases the effect of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on certificates and approvals can be remedied by stakeholders through various measures, including a “switch” to a civil aviation authority of the EU27, or the application, already now, for a third-country certificate issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (“the Agency”) with effect of the withdrawal date (“early application”).
However, unlike in other areas of Union law, there are some instances where it is not possible for natural and legal persons to mitigate disruptions in the EU-27. Therefore the abovementioned Commission Communication announced that the Commission would propose measures ensuring continued validity of certificates for certain aeronautical products, parts, appliances and companies.
Regarding certain aeronautical products (“type certificates”) and companies (“organisation approvals”), the United Kingdom resumes, for its jurisdiction as of the withdrawal date, the role of “State of design” under the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The United Kingdom, can only issue certificates in this new role if it complies with requirements set under the Convention. Those responsibilities are currently fulfilled by the European Aviation Safety Authority to which the United Kingdom participates by virtue of EU membership.
It is therefore necessary to ensure a controlled change mechanism, allowing the operators concerned and the Agency sufficient time so that the necessary certificates can be issued under Article 68 of Regulation (EU) 2018/1139, having regard to the status of the United Kingdom as a third country.
Such extended validity should be limited in time to what is strictly necessary to cater for the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU Aviation safety system.
Moreover, unlike in most other areas of Union law on goods, the invalidity of certificates impacts not the placing on the market but the actual use of aviation products, parts and appliances in the EU, when for example installing parts and appliances on an EU27 aircraft. Indeed, as regards products, parts and appliances, the aviation framework is regulated differently from many other areas of the Union acquis where the concept of placing on market is central. In the aviation safety framework the regulation determines directly whether a part, product or appliance can be used, regardless of whether it has been placed on the market. The EU aviation safety system allows oversight of such products, parts and appliances to be carried out reliably and unequivocally. Thus, it is considered beneficial to use the existing framework also as a basis for the proposed regulation to ensure compliance with aviation safety principles.
This concerns only a very limited number of certificates, i.e.
Certificates issued by manufacturers (“production organisations”) before the withdrawal date certifying compliance of newly manufactured products (other than aircraft), parts and appliances thus allowing the continued use in and on aircraft (Point 21.A.163(c) of Annex I to Regulation 748/2012)
Certificates issued by maintenance companies (“maintenance organisations”) before the withdrawal date certifying compliance of products (incl. aircraft), parts and appliances which have undergone maintenance by them (Point 145.A.75(e) of Annex II to Regulation 1321/2014)
Idem for aircraft other than complex motor powered aircraft (Point M.A.615(d) of Annex I to Regulation 1321/2014) Idem for parts and appliances installed aircraft other than complex motor powered aircraft (Point M.A.615(d) of Annex I to Regulation 1321/2014)
Certificates issued by maintenance companies (“maintenance organisations”) before the withdrawal date certifying the completion of airworthiness review for light aircraft in the so-called European Light Aircraft 1 category (“ELA 1”, for example certain sailplanes or light powered aircraft) (Point 145.A.75(f) of Annex II to Regulation 1321/2014)
Certificates issued by companies overseeing the compliance of an aircraft (“continuing airworthiness management organisations”) before the withdrawal date certifying the “airworthiness” of an aircraft (Points M.A.711(a).4 and M.A.711(b).1 of Annex I to Regulation 1321/2014 Finally, the content and exams of certain trainings addressed under the proposal are regulated in a detailed manner under Union law and consist of standardised modules, which should normally be completed in one Member State, before a transfer to another Member State jurisdiction is possible.
The provisions proposed will not lower the requirements regarding the safety or environmental performance of aviation in the Union. The proposal will allow EU-27 manufacturers to continue producing their products and operators to continue operating such products, in compliance with applicable Union legal requirements. To the contrary, an interruption in these activities would cause significant social and economic problems. In ensuring organisations’ compliance with EU law, the proposal will also ensure the protection of consumers and citizens.
The European Council (Article 50) reiterated its call, on 13 December 2018, for work on preparedness at all levels for the consequences of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal to be intensified, taking into account all possible outcomes. This act is part of a package of measures which the Commission is adopting in response to this call.
Consistency with existing policy provisions in the policy area
This proposed Regulation is intended as a lex specialis that would address some of the consequences ensuing from the fact that Regulation (EU) No 2018/1139 and the implementing and delegated acts adopted thereunder as well as under Regulation (EU) No 216/2008 rules will no longer apply to the United Kingdom, applying only to the extent necessary to ensure the controlled shift to an EU-27 aviation market. The proposed terms are limited to what is necessary in this respect, so as to avoid disproportionate disruptions. They are also intended to apply only for a limited period of time. The general provisions of those acts will otherwise continue to apply. This proposal is thus fully consistent with the existing legislation and notably with Regulation (EU) No 2018/1139.
Consistency with other Union policies
The proposal concerns aviation safety and complements Union Regulation (EC) 2018/1139 to deal specifically with the situation of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the Union without a withdrawal agreement.