Brexit is due to hit on 29th March 2019, and while things are still ‘up in the air’ with no firm agreement in place, cabin crew are understandably worried about what Brexit could mean for both them and their careers.
A lot of this depends on whether a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit will be on the cards.
At the moment the UK is a member of EASA (Europe’s aviation safety regulators) and wishes to remain a member if possible – but with a hard Brexit this looks unlikely.
This would mean that the UK would need to seek new agreements to operate flights to and from the EU – otherwise flights leaving from or going to UK from EU operators would need new Foreign Carrier licences.
At the moment the UK is thought to be planning a reciprocal deal with EU member states for permission for flights between UK and EU countries.
For certain flights from the UK to non-EU countries, where permission to land is dependent on membership of the EU, new Air Service Agreements will need to be negotiated.
Apparently this is in process though details have not been confirmed.
According to the UK Government, they intend that Cabin Crew attestations for UK crew, issued in the EU by EASA, would be valid and recognised for 2 years (or until expiry) after Brexit.
This would be the transitional period of a ‘soft’ Brexit. After this a new CAA attestation would be needed to work for a UK registered airline.
However the EU is currently taking a harder stance, saying that attestations issued in the UK by a CAA organisation for EU operator crew would lose their validity after Brexit, and a new EASA attestation would have to be attained.
The same would be true for instructors and organisations providing training, and for things like medical certificates – unless a deal is struck any attestations or certifications will all only be valid in the UK.
At the moment CAA licences and attestations are issued under EASA regulations and valid across the EU and other countries that conform to the EASA system.
Problems for UK crew who work for EU airlines, and have chosen to work and live abroad, are unclear. It seems sensible to assume that there will be no major changes if residency or work permits have already been obtained.
Because discussions are on-going concerning Brexit, and things are so unsettled, it’s impossible to predict with any clarity what could happen – only to lay out the possibilities.
We’ll keep you informed, and whatever happens we’ll be here to help you through any changes that Brexit could mean for you as crew.