The UK government has widely published its desire to be free from any obligation to respect EU law after Brexit. In the air transport sector, this inevitably results in a restriction of significant access by British airlines to the EU market and a similar reduction in EU air carriers` access to the UK market. While the Court accepts the logic of limiting EU and UK airlines to the third and fourth freedoms in this scenario, the subsequent contraction of the sector in both jurisdictions will inevitably lead to job losses for pilots. The definition of future relations between the EU and the UK in the area of air transport is within the competence of the UK Government in its negotiations with the EU. Areas such as traffic rights, property and control, VAT and customs duties, as well as future relations with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EEA), which oversees the Common Airspace (EEA), must all be decided well before 31 December 2020. The EU was part of the horizontal agreements negotiated with 17 other non-ECAA countries, including the United States and Canada. These relate to areas such as airline access rights, passenger rights and investments. As has already been foreseen, the air services agreement would benefit from basic connectivity between the EU and the UK (i.e. the third and fourth free services between the two parties, in addition to the seventh freedoms for EU airlines, from each EU Member State to the UK).

The UK has also proposed granting EU airlines fifth freedom rights for freight rights to third countries. Despite the upcoming delay, many airlines say they are not too worried. They recall the emergency non-agreement measures drawn up in March 2019 between London and Brussels, which would have ensured connectivity in the event of an agreement. Firstly, the EU Law (Withdrawal Act) of 2018 is expected to adopt all EU aviation laws at the end of the transition period. The UK “completely withdraws from the EAS system on 1 January 2021, which means that the CAA must perform regulatory functions without eESA added a technical agent and access to dense AI and EU capabilities.” Airlines and manufacturers are now relying on negotiators to reach a pragmatic agreement setting out aviation safety agreements that will come into force on January 1 of next year. Future cooperation between the UK and the EU in the area of air transport will be the subject of negotiations. The UK government has said it hopes to conclude technical agreements with the EU in areas such as air transport or civil nuclear cooperation. The transition period avoids the immediate prospect of a “hard” Brexit, but can only delay it until 2021 if no new deal is reached.