Brexit: Update on the future of the UK Block Permit schemes
Following several meetings with the UK CAA and the Department of Transport, EBAA has drafted an update on the possible future of the UK Block Permit scheme programme.
The UK will most likely supply new Block permits in about end of March 2021, but only to countries on a reciprocal basis. So far that has been agreed with Italy and France. There are ongoing discussions with a majority of countries, but the CAA indicated that with a number of authorities they have not progressed enough to move forward.
Should this be the case in a country of operations the UK CAA will not issue a new block permit to operators in these countries from April 1st onwards. This will mean that operators in those countries need to follow the slow permit process on a flight by flight basis.
Important to note
It is not always the local authorities that are delaying things or obstructing a process. In some cases, there is simply no legal basis or structure to allow something similar to block permits.
Whilst all EU operators may seek individual approvals on a flight by flight basis from any point in the EU to and from the UK, the UK CAA may also grant Block Permits to EU operators, which will last several months and cover any number of flights, where an equivalent arrangement exists for UK operators with the EU state where that operator is licensed. What does this mean in practice? For example a flight from Munich to London, the UK CAA would allow for it to be operated by a French operator with a UK Block Permit, under a reciprocal understanding between the UK and France that an equivalent system is in place for UK airlines. In parallel, a German operator would have to apply for a permit for each individual flight on the same route if no reciprocal understanding on a similar approval for UK airlines had not been reached with the German authorities.
Changes to the UK Block Permit regime may be implemented from 1 April, this coincides with 2 Public Holidays in the UK.Those intending to operate a flight that is removed from the scope of the Block Permit regime, between 2 April and 6 April, they should note applications should allow 2 UK working days in advance of the requested flight for consideration and may be refused if insufficient notice is provided
It is in the hands of the national negotiators as much as the UK ones on this very political Brexit file. EBAA suggest operators to reach out to their own authorities too to make them aware that this is important for them and express their position on the approach they should take. When talking to the authorities it is best to note to them that they differentiate between rules Cargo, wet lease and ad hoc Business aviation flights.
What can you do: reach out to your authorities, see where they stand and see what their plans are and make them aware of your position and concerns
What can your National association do: this is primarily a national issue and it would be good, if there is a national association in your country, to reach out to them and see if you and your national colleagues can agree to a national position to pass to your authorities
What can EBAA do: EBAA is actively working with various stakeholders to ensure that the administrative burden caused by Brexit is minimal. We are engaging with the appropriate authorities to explain the need for a level playing field throughout Europe.
We are interested to learn issues you are running into so please do e-mail us and reach out.