The New UK: What Does Brexit mean for US-UK Aircraft Parts Transactions?

Many companies rely on UK-based manufacturers and repair stations. What happens to these companies after the end of the Brexit transition on December 31?

Yesterday, we laid out the legal underpinnings of Brexit (as they apply to aircraft parts transactions) and if you haven’t already read that post, then you should take a look at it as background for today’s post.

Installation of New Parts Produced in the UK on US-Registered Aircraft (and other third-country nations)

Until the end of the transition period (after December 31, 2020), the UK continues to benefit from the laws and agreements of the EU. This means that United States acceptance of UK-produced parts is subject to normal rules that apply to all EU-US transactions, and to resolve conflicts we should look to the existing US-EU BASA and the FAA-EASA IPA. Thus, nothing has appreciably changed, yet.

This same rule applies to other nations. Their existing agreements with the EU continue to apply to UK transactions until the end of the transition period (after December 31, 2020).

After the end of the transition period, starting January 1, 2021, new parts produced under UK production approval and imported into the United States aviation system will be subject to the US-UK bilateral agreement. The Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness (“IPA”) between the US FAA and UK CAA can be found here. As you can see, that IPA is substantially similar to the comparable FAA-EASA Technical Implementation Procedures. The reason for this is to make the transition as smooth as possible, so we can continue with “business as usual.”

One minor difference is that UK CAA producers will issue UK CAA Form 1 instead of EASA Form 1 after the end of the transition period.

Another minor difference worth mentioning is found in the definition of the term “article” in the US-UK IPA, which explains that the US definition includes a material, part, component, process or appliance, while the UK definition is limited to a component, part or appliance. Unless you are dealing in materials or processes that have been treated as articles in the United States, this distinction should not be a concern for most transactions (note that the FAA-EASA TIP relies on the FAA definition of “article”).

As discussed in yesterday’s post, the UK CAA has also signed comparable agreements with Canada and Japan.

Note that many UK-based manufacturers are seeking EASA Part 21 approvals. EASA maintains a list of these certificate holders on their website. These manufacturers will receive their EASA Part 21 credentials at the end of the transition period (after December 31, 2020); and they will be able to continue issuing EASA Form 1 for their articles.

These entities will be considered to be EASA certificate holders by the EU and it is likely that the FAA will continue to treat them as subject to the US-EU agreements, but there are some minor changes that may be necessary in the US-EU agreements to properly implement this situation [like changing the scope language that applies to “articles … eligible for import to the U.S. from EASA and each EU member state” which will need to be broadened to include imports from third country states where the producer is subject to an EASA POA].

Installation of Parts Maintained by a UK Part 145 MRO on US-Registered Aircraft

As with new parts, during the transition period (through December 31, 2020), the laws and agreements of the EU continue to apply to the UK, and thus the United States accepts parts maintained under US FAA certificates in the UK and released on an EASA Form 1 that denotes dual-release (under EASA 145 and FAA 145).

As with new parts, nothing has appreciably changed, yet. In this situation, the date that matters is the date of the maintenance release, and that date will need to be assessed to identify whether the release was signed before or after the end of the transition period

For work that was released by a UK-based repair station (holding FAA approval, as well), after December 31, 2020, the legal basis for installation on a US-registered aircraft may depend on the nature fo the certificates held by the MRO. Some MROs will continue to hold the same UK CAA 145 and US FAA 145 certificates that they have always held. The work of these MROs will be subject to the Maintenance Implementation Procedures (MIP) between the US FAA and the UK CAA. But many other MROs in the UK will obtain EASA 145 certification as a third country MRO. This will mean that they (typically) hold UK, US and EU approvals. The list of those UK repair stations who have applied for EASA Part 145 approval can be found on the EASA website. These repair stations will receive their EASA Part 145 credentials at the end of the transition period (after December 31, 2020).

Where the work of the work of the MRO is subject to the Maintenance Implementation Procedures (MIP) between the US FAA and the UK CAA (e.g. the MRO has UK CAA 145 and FAA 145 approvals, but not an EASA 145 approval), such work will no longer be released on an EASA Form 1. Instead it will be released on an UK CAA Form 1. As with the other form, if it is a dual-release then the remarks block will indicate that the work is performed under FAA regulations if the work is intended to be acceptable in the United States.

There is also a clause in the US-UK MIP that permits holders of FAA Part 145 privileges in the UK to release work on a single-release 8130-3 tag (this would only certify approval for return to service for US FAA regulatory purposes, but it would be acceptable in the US market).

What About EU-registered aircraft?

EU-registered aircraft are a more complicated matter, and we will deal with those in the next post.

About Jason Dickstein
Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. Since 1992, he has represented aviation trade associations and businesses that include aircraft and aircraft parts manufacturers, distributors, and repair stations, as well as both commercial and private operators. Blog content published by Mr. Dickstein is not legal advice; and may not reflect all possible fact patterns. Readers should exercise care when applying information from blog articles to their own fact patterns.

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