Brexit: the European Union suggests UK transport sector companies to prepare for a “no-deal” scenario

In December 2017, the European Union warned UK companies operating in the maritime, aviation and road transport sectors of the consequences of a possible “no-deal” scenario in the negotiations for Brexit, highlighting the regulatory problems that may arise in case the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without reaching an agreement.

The documents report that, from 29 March 2019, when the United Kingdom will become a third country, the UK operating licenses and authorisations will automatically lapse and many international companies may be forced to create entities under European law in order to continue to operate across Europe. In particular:

  • for the maritime sector, the European Union has warned that UK certificates of competency or certificates of proficiency will not allow seafarers to work on vessels going under the flags of the 27 EU Member States. The news has alarmed Nautilus International, the trade union and professional organisation representing maritime professionals in the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland, that has demanded the UK government to ensure that there are no barriers to British sailors’ employment;
  • in the field of road transport, long-haul lorry and coach drivers will no longer be able to rely on their UK certificates of professional competence and will need to obtain certification from one of the 27 Member States to continue working across Europe. Moreover, UK companies transporting goods operating at a EU level will need a headquarter in the European Union;
  • in the field of air transport, in order to continue flying routes departing and arriving within the EU after Brexit, airlines will need to have their headquarters in the Union and more than 50% of their capital share must be owned by Member States or nationals of Member States guaranteeing them effective control, whether directly or indirectly, of the company. For this reason, the British low-cost carrier Easyjet has picked Vienna as its new EU headquarters. Moreover, UK airlines might fall out of aviation agreements with third countries such as the United States, jeopardising pan-Atlantic services, unless bilateral agreements can be reached.


Davide Scavuzzo