UK aviation firms scramble to avoid red tape of ‘hard Brexit’

PARIS (Reuters) – European regulators are handling bids from hundreds of British aviation firms for permits allowing them to keep doing business with continental airlines in the event of a disorderly exit from the European Union as planning for a “hard Brexit” intensifies.

A passenger plane flies towards Heathrow airport at dawn in London, Britain, September 12, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The head of the European Aviation Safety Agency said it was allowing British repair shops and other firms to make advance applications and avoid a stampede for certification in case Britain leaves the EU on March 29 without a transition deal.

The pre-emptive move is the latest evidence of contingency planning for a “no-deal” Brexit in one of several sectors seen as most at risk from an unmanaged separation.

“We are preparing for the worst,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky told aviation journalists.

“There are around 900 British companies providing services to European (aviation) companies and of these there are maybe 600 which … must receive EASA approval in the event of a no-deal Brexit,” Ky said.

“As of now we have treated about 200 requests.”

As an EU member Britain is responsible for certifying domestic companies that provide dozens of services, from cabin work to t

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