Aerospace leaders call for EU membership through Brexit transition

A UK aerospace and defence trade association has called for the UK to remain as an EU member state for a post-Brexit transitional period, according to FlightGlobal.

ADS chief executive Paul Everitt told the UK’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee that the organisation’s members wanted to retain the current arrangement throughout a transitional period after Brexit, which is scheduled for March 2019.

Everitt said: “For us, status quo means retaining our EU membership during that period. That’s important for our sector because much of our regulatory framework is shaped by our membership of the EU.

“The reason why we think it’s the best deal to stay an EU member state during the transition is because we have a whole series of bilateral agreements that would have to be negotiated and in place at the moment that we cease to be an EU member state.”

Everitt said that leaving the EU without a deal would be the “worst possible outcome from an industry perspective” and called for clarity on the terms of a transitional period “as early as possible in 2018”.

Airbus UK senior vice-president Katherine Bennett also presented evidence to the committee. Bennett said “some firm decisions” were needed to avoid the deterioration of the aerospace industry within the UK.

The UK Royal Aeronautical Society’s president-elect Simon Henley acknowledged that the European Space Agency (ESA) is not an EU body and membership would not be affected by Brexit. However, Henley also noted that many ESA projects are funded by the EU, including Galileo, and suppliers for these projects are required to be from a member state.