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European Commission’s ‘no-deal’ air transport Brexit plan

European Commission’s ‘no-deal’ air transport Brexit plan

THE European Commission has drawn up a contingency plan ahead of the UK withdrawing from the European Union on 29 March 2019. It includes measures for specific sectors where a no-deal scenario would create “major disruption” for citizens and businesses, such as air transport and Customs, writes Thelma Etim.

“The Commission considers it essential and urgent to adopt these measures today [19 December 2018] to ensure that the necessary contingency measures can enter into application on 30 March 2019, in order to limit the most significant damage caused by a no-deal scenario in these areas,” explains an official EU statement.


The Commission has today (19 December 2018) adopted two measures that will avoid full interruption of air traffic between the EU and the UK in the event of no deal.

These measures will only ensure basic connectivity and in no means replicate the significant advantages of membership of the Single European Sky. This is subject to the UK conferring equivalent rights to EU air carriers, as well as the UK ensuring conditions of fair competition.

  • A proposal for a Regulation to ensure temporarily (for 12 months) the provision of certain air services between the UK and the EU.
  • A proposal for a Regulation to extend temporarily (for 9 months) the validity of certain aviation safety licences.

The Commission has also adopted a proposal for a Regulation to allow UK operators to temporarily (nine months) carry goods into the EU, provided the UK confers equivalent rights to EU road haulage operators and subject to fair competition conditions.

Road haulage

If the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified, road haulage between the EU and the United Kingdom will be severely restricted and limited to an international system of limited quotas. The Commission has today adopted a measure to ensure basic connectivity. This will allow operators from the United Kingdom temporarily to carry goods into the Union, provided the United Kingdom confers equivalent rights to Union road haulage operators and subject to conditions ensuring fair competition

  • A proposal for a Regulation to allow temporarily, for nine months, access for road haulage operators licensed in the United Kingdom to the carriage of goods by road between the territory of the latter and the EU27 Member States.

EU level contingency action is necessary to ensure an appropriate legal framework in the area of road haulage. EU law has superseded old bilateral agreements on road haulage rights and they cannot be resurrected, warns the document.

Any new bilateral agreement would raise issues of competence and would not allow for road haulage to the United Kingdom by an operator of another Member State (cross-trade). They are therefore not a practical solution.

Customs and the export of goods

In a no-deal scenario, all relevant EU legislation on the importation and exportation of goods will apply to goods moving between the EU and the UK. The Commission has today adopted the following technical measures:

  • A Delegated Regulation to include the seas surrounding the UK in the provisions on time-limits within which entry summary declarations and pre-departure declarations have to be lodged prior to leaving or entering the Union’s customs territory.
  • A proposal for a Regulation to add the UK to the list of countries for which a general authorisation to export dual use items is valid throughout the EU.

“It is essential, however, that Member States take all the necessary steps to be in a position to apply the Union Customs Code and the relevant rules regarding indirect taxation in relation to the United Kingdom,” the statement warns.

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