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Lords debates operation of air services regulations post Brexit

19 December 2018

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Members of the House of Lords discussed draft regulations which address deficiencies in air regulations arising as a result of the UK leaving the EU, in the Lords on Tuesday 18 December 2018.

Draft Operation of Air Services (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

This statutory instrument is a contingency that would take effect in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a negotiated deal. It reflects the fact that it applies only within the UK and affects UK entities, rather than the EU and EU entities. Therefore it will not provide air carriers with the ability to operate intra-EU air services. It will continue to set out the requirements for holding an operating licence, although these will now apply to UK carriers and it will provide continuity of the regime for approving the wet lease of aircraft (which includes crew, maintenance and insurance).

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Labour) proposed a motion to regret the regulations, on the grounds that the effect of a no deal exit from the EU risks grounding all civil aircraft after 29 March 2019; and calls on the government to seek UK membership of the European Common Aviation Area in its own right to prevent such an outcome.

Following a debate, the motion to regret was withdrawn.

If agreed to, this motion would not have stopped the regulations, but would have provided an opportunity for the House to put on record its regret that the government is making these changes in respect of a potential no deal exit from the EU.

How do these regulations become law

These regulations were presented as a Statutory Instrument (SI). An Act will often contain a broad framework and statutory instruments are used to provide the necessary detail that would be too complex to include in the Act itself. They are also easier to change than an Act – for example to upgrade the rate of payment each year or amend the necessary forms in the light of experience.

This instrument was subject to the affirmative procedure, this means that it must be debated in both Houses before it can be made law. A vote can be taken on them if the House wishes but is not essential.  

Further information

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