Another Brexit update no. 3

Added September 2020

  • Read why Brexit is not so complicated
  • Should you be afraid of a hard or no-deal Brexit?

The UK and EU are still negotiating the terms for the trade arrangements covering the post-Brexit time, but it seems as the two parties can only agree about disagreeing and that a deal cannot be reached before New Year’s where the so-called transition period is ending. This is, of course, a negative situation as it leaves uncertainties for the general economic situation.

On the other hand, the positive news is that a deal will eventually be made as it is needed by both parts, but it can still take months or years before they are ready to settle things. This means that the relationship between the two parties will be unregulated in the meantime. 

The answer is NO
The big question remains whether or if the aircraft operators should be afraid of the so-called hard or no-deal Brexit. Our clear answer is NO. The results of a hard or no-deal Brexit will be the same for most operators as if a deal were to be made. Brexit is not complicated; things are just a bit different. Below, we will explain and discuss the most common issues.

What is the situation right now?
The UK is no longer a part of the EU but is still a part of the EU customs territory until the end of 2020. Therefore, nothing will truly change in 2020 for operators flying within the EU or the UK. An importation or admission into the EU/UK will still give access to both the 27 remaining EU member states and the UK, covering all flights within these territories.

What is the situation in the new year?
Once the UK has left the EU customs territory, the UK will be seen as a separate economic zone or jurisdiction, just like Norway, Switzerland, Russia, the USA, Canada, etc.  Anyone can basically fly into e.g., London Biggin Hill and out again without any restrictions by following the simple Temporary Admission (TA) rules for a customs entry. Internal UK flights can happen by complying with the same TA regulation and adhere to the same limitations and restrictions as now enforced within the EU (including the UK). But please remember not to confuse this with immigration and passport issues.

The EU has traditionally been more complicated due to the size of the area and the different opinions of the various member states. This is the reason why an aircraft owner/operator will often want to have some kind of approved customs paperwork when operating within the EU; in our opinion, this is not needed for the UK. The UK has fully adapted all aspects of the TA regulation, allowing corporate flights and/or residents as passengers onboard internal flights. Consequently, there are no grey zones when using TA on the British Isles. Nevertheless, following the same guidelines as before Brexit (mirrored to the UK as a jurisdiction instead of the EU) will keep the aircraft operation 100% compliant with the future UK post-Brexit rules.

If you are a EU27 or UK operator and have already imported an aircraft before the end of 2020 in the “wrong zone”
The EU Commission has already sent out guidelines on how a EU27/UK operator can naturalize/grandfather an eventual importation performed within the UK. The UK has, so far, not been very precise for the opposite scenario, but clarification is expected.

If you are a EU27, UK operator: what about unrecognized earlier importations or new aircraft?
The safe approach is to fly in accordance with the guidelines in the TA regulation when leaving the home economic zone and flying into the opposite zone.

When is a full importation actually needed?
A full importation into the UK will only be needed if the aircraft is owned/operated/registered by a UK-entity or going to be based within the UK, or if the aircraft spends the majority of its time within the UK. The same set of rules goes for the EU.

We often hear the following questions from non-EU operators: “We have earlier chosen to fully import our aircraft into the EU – will we now have to fully import the same aircraft into the UK?” and “Shall we fully import a potential new 2021 aircraft into both the EU and the UK?”

There is no logic behind fully importing an aircraft into every new economic zone or country that the aircraft fly to. A full importation should only be performed if you “have to” as you commit to only use the aircraft in a very limited way. Please, try to imagine the scenario complying with 2 or 3 different and conflicting sets of regulations on how to handle non-business use correctly, which will be the situation. Take, for example, if a US part 91 operator chooses to import in both the EU and the UK. The FAA rules are often conflicting with the EU/UK rules for the mentioned area. It is also a common misunderstanding that a full importation is a one-off transaction. Any wrong use can have a huge economic impact with a future VAT/tax-liability for up to 5 to 7 years. Our suggestion is that you simply always use TA, if possible.

These aircraft registrations can be used in 2021 within the EU for Temporary Admission
The UK (G-reg), Isle of Man (M-reg), and the Channel Islands (2/ZJ-reg) will no longer be part of the EU customs territory and can therefore be used for TA. This is indeed positive news.

These aircraft registrations can be used in 2021 within the UK for Temporary Admission
All the national aircraft registrations belonging to the EU27 member states can be used for TA.

Temporary Admission is easy, both within the EU and the UK
The use of the Supporting Document is not mandatory when arriving. Just remember that an operator must always be ready to document the following:

  1. the flight pattern within the EU and the UK (use the Supporting Document and flight logs OR just flight logs, etc.)
  2. compliance with the TA regulation; all criteria are met with the correct application of the limitations

TA can be used for aircraft where the purpose is private, corporate, or charter, both for a single entry and on internal flights. This has several times been confirmed by the EU Commission.

How can OPMAS help – including our free service
We will be glad to prepare the Supporting Document (SD) for both the EU and the UK with the correct declarant and aircraft data on the correct form so that the crew can use the SD themselves and ask local customs at the arriving airport to stamp the SD. This is available at no charge.

We also offer an analysis of the owner/user/operator scenario to secure compliance with the TA regulation and provide guidance for the correct use of the TA.

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