UK will leave European aviation safety regulator, says Grant Shapps

Transport secretary Grant Shapps speaking on Sky News' Sophie Ridge On Sunday (Pic: Sky News)

Transport secretary Grant Shapps speaking on Sky News' Sophie Ridge On Sunday (Pic: Sky News) - Credit: Sky News

The aviation industry has criticised the government after transport secretary Grant Shapps said that the UK will leave the European aviation safety regulator after the Brexit transition period ends.

Shapps confirmed that British membership of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will end on December 31.

The powers will revert to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), he said.

Shapps told Aviation Week during a visit to Washington: "We will leave EASA. A lot of the expertise they have is UK expertise, in fact. A lot of the key leading lights were Brits...

"So, the powers will revert to the CAA, who are probably one of the world's leading regulators and the expertise will need to come home to do that, but we'll do it in a gradual way."

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But industry body ADS, which represents UK aerospace businesses, said continued participation in EASA was the "best option" to maintain competitiveness in the aerospace industry, and that it was "disappointed" the government had not taken a more ambitious approach.

ADS chief executive Paul Everitt said: "We have been clear that continued participation in EASA is the best option to maintain the competitiveness of our £36 billion aerospace industry and our access to global export markets.

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"UK influence in EASA contributes to raising standards in global aviation, supports collaboration with our international partners, and helps make our industry attractive to the investment it needs to be home to the development of a new generation of advanced aircraft technology.

"Government had promised it would consider harmonisation where it is in the UK interest and will be led by the evidence on the future of aviation safety regulation.

"We are disappointed that it has not taken a more ambitious approach. It is essential that it works with us to deliver a regime that does not put jobs at risk in an industry that employs 111,000 people in highly skilled roles across the UK."

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: "Being a member of the European Aviation Safety Agency is not compatible with the UK having genuine economic and political independence.

"We will maintain world-leading safety standards for industry, with the Civil Aviation Authority taking over these responsibilities, and will continue to work with colleagues in the EU to establish a new regulatory relationship."

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