The CAA has branded a Sky News report suggesting as many as 35,000 pilots would need to renew their licences in the event of a no-deal Brexit “misleading”.
Citing leaked CAA documents, Sky News reported pilot licences would no longer be recognised by the EU if the UK drops out of the European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa).
Sky said a succession of CAA leaks “paint a picture of an organisation scrambling to make the necessary preparations for a no-deal Brexit and the UK dropping out of the aviation single market”.
The CAA though said pilot licences would remain valid despite Brexit, and that it was planning for “all Brexit eventualities”.
Mark Swan, CAA group director of safety and airspace regulation, said: “It is misleading for Sky News to say 35,000 pilots would need to renew their pilot’s licence in a ’no-deal’ Brexit scenario.
“Both commercial and private UK pilot licences would remain valid for use on UK-registered aircraft as the UK is a signatory to the International Civil Aviation Organisation Chicago Convention.
“Our licences are internationally recognised - including by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) - both now and after March 29, 2019.
“The CAA will continue to issue and reissue pilots’ licences when they are lost, damaged, when details need to be changed or pilots’ privileges updated as we do now. Over time, this would include removing references to EASA - a purely cosmetic change.
“There will be no requirement for licences to be re-issued for any other reason meaning that there will be no change to this process.”
On the CAA’s readiness for Brexit, Swan added: “The CAA also strongly refutes any suggestion we are concerned about our ability to provide safety oversight to the UK aviation industry should no deal be reached between the UK and the EU.
“The safety of passengers, crew and those on the ground remains our absolute priority and nothing has changed in this respect. Sky News has unfortunately confused Easa approval of new aircraft and component design with our existing national safety oversight obligations.
“As a responsible regulator, the CAA has been planning for all eventualities in the negotiations, including that of a no deal, for some time. Our planning and contingency is advanced and we continue to work closely with the Government to prepare the industry for all scenarios.”