© Eros Erika brexit
© Eros Erika

Thirty-seven airlines, as well as aviation-related companies, will not be allowed to carry or handle cargo going to the EU after 29 March 2019, if the EU fails to create a new ACC3 designator mechanism – security clearance.

The UK, as an EU member, provided the carriers with ACC3 designation, but this will expire once the UK ceases to be a member under a ‘no deal’ scenario.

In its ‘guidance on aviation in the event of no deal’, the UK government noted yesterday: “The EU has set out that all security designations of carriers from third countries previously granted by the UK will be treated as expiring on the UK’s exit from the EU.”

While it said that the UK would continue to allow those carriers to bring cargo into the UK, “the EU has not yet set out a mechanism for these designations to be reissued by EU member states. Without such a mechanism those carriers from non-EU countries will not be able to carry cargo into the EU after the UK leaves the EU”.

It warned: “In addition to the 37 carriers that the UK provides ACC3 designation to, the UK is also the responsible EU member state for a significant proportion of the screening entities in the supply chains which support those carriers.”

The UK intends to recognise EU cargo security from the outset, and will not “require new cargo security designations for carriers from EU airports. The UK would do this to prevent any disruption to the European and global cargo networks, and in recognition that security standards are already aligned and equivalent.”

But it added that it expected reciprocity from the EU – although it acknowledged: “the European Commission has set out that, in the absence of any agreement, the default regulatory position will require carriers to hold ACC3 designations from an EU member state in order to transport cargo from the UK into the EU. The EU has not yet provided details of how carriers should apply for an ACC3 designation.”

The UK government, which in every notice issued yesterday reiterated its belief that no deal “remains unlikely”, added: “An outcome where the EU does not immediately recognise UK security standards as equivalent (given standards are higher than in the EU) would have significant implications for the EU air cargo industry, their supply chains, and the consumers of the products to be shipped. Therefore the UK expects that its recognition of EU security standards will be reciprocated in turn by the EU, recognising the UK’s existing higher security standards.”

But IATA responded this morning saying that any assumptions or expectations were“too risky”.

“The UK government’s papers … clearly expose the extreme seriousness of what is at stake and underscores the huge amount of work that would be required to maintain vital air links,” said Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA​

“It is not just permission for flights to take off and land. Everything from pilots’ licences to security arrangements need to be agreed.

“Much of this could be secured through mutual recognition of existing standards. But formalising this cannot happen overnight. And even when that is done, there will still be an administrative burden for the airlines and governments involved that will take time and significant resources.

“While we still hope for a comprehensive EU-UK deal, an assumption that “it will be all right on the night” is far too risky to accept. Every contingency should be prepared for, and we call upon both the EU and the UK to be far more transparent with the state of the discussions.”

The UK government said negotiations were “progressing well”.

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