Britain could join the ECAA as a new member. This is what Bosnia and Herzegovina has done recently, although it could prove difficult, as it would require the support of the 27 EU countries, and Spain has made it clear that it will not pass such an agreement because of concerns about Gibraltar airport. However, it should be reiterated that this is not an idea supported by the Safety Court, unless full and sustained harmonisation of safety, employment, competition and consumer protection is guaranteed. Nor would the Court support the dilution of AOC and other regulatory requirements maintained by the designating party. Under this specific agreement, the European Commission should be empowered to review and apply this rule for EU-designated airlines, which would be in line with the EU proposal, which considers the EU as an entity or contracting party to the agreement. The advantage is that it is a “prefabricated” agreement that saves valuable time and resources in the UK. This option, however, poses the same problem as membership of the ECJ: the disagreement over Gibraltar and the continuing influence of the ECJ. Despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit in many sectors, UK airports remain some of the busiest in Europe, offer global connectivity and serve many international airlines, even in the face of Covid-19. The air transport agreement offers a high level of safety and will boost consumer confidence in the competing aviation industry. The ECAA and horizontal agreements allow EU airlines to fly from the UK to 17 other non-ECAA countries, such as the US, Australia and New Zealand, with reduced restrictions. This has significantly increased the number of routes and freight forwarders available to consumers.
Flights could be grounded for aviation. However, it is more likely that a “boneless” agreement on traffic rights and safety rules will be reached. Beyond the transition period, the UK must not only agree new market access rules with the EU, but also negotiate new bilateral agreements with 17 non-EU countries in which rights are currently granted under EU agreements. New bilateral security agreements will also be needed. .