LONDON – The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the United Kingdom has responded to claims from Sky News which state that pilot licenses will have to be reissued in a no-deal BREXIT.

According to the article, pilot licenses will not be recognized by the EU if the UK drops out of the European air safety mechanism, forcing more than 35,000 pilots to re-issue their licenses, costing millions of Pounds

It is unclear whether these expenses would go on to the pilots or taxpayers, as a commercial license issuance costs £143 per commercial pilot and £75 per private license.

The CAA was very quick to shut down these allegations. Mark Swan, the Group Director of Safety and Airspace Regulation at the UK CAA, said that “It is misleading for Sky News to say that 35,000 pilots would need to renew their pilot’s licenses in a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario.”

“Both commercial and private UK pilot licenses would remain valid for use on UK-registered aircraft as the United Kingdom is a signatory to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Chicago Convention,” explained Swan.

“Our licenses are internationally recognized – including by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) – both now and after 29 March 2019.”

Swan then continued on the process of reissuance of such pilots licenses, citing nothing about a change in the process at all.

“The CAA will continue to issue and reissue pilots’ licenses when they are lost, damaged when details need to be changed or pilots’ privileges updated as we do now,” he said.

Over time, this would include removing references to EASA—a purely cosmetic change.

“There will be no requirement for licenses to be re-issued for any other reason meaning that there will be no change to this process”, Swan added.

Sky News also mentioned that the lack of staff in the CAA could make the re-issuance process unsafe.

“The CAA also strongly refutes any suggestion that we are concerned about our ability to provide safety oversight to the UK aviation industry should no-deal be reached between the UK and the EU licenses Swan responded.

“Sky News has unfortunately confused EASA approval of new aircraft and component design with our existing national safety oversight obligations.”

Swan concluded with what they expect to do concerning BREXIT.

“As a responsible regulator, the CAA has been planning for all eventualities in the negotiations, including that of a ‘no-deal’, for some time,” he said. “Our planning and contingency are advanced and we continue to work closely with the Government to prepare the industry for all scenarios.”

It remains clear that the CAA is producing a view that this article from Sky News is more scaremongering on the political elements of “Vote Remain.”

With CAA-approved licenses under the Chicago Convention, this issue seems settled. 

It was revealed last week that the UK Department for Transport is negotiating separate treaties with other EU states to ensure that no aircraft will be grounded when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.