DOUGLAS Chapman has called on the UK Government to address the fall-out from Brexit to UK pilots who are now prevented from securing work in the aviation sector.

Leaving the EU has resulted in an inequality between UK and EU pilot licences. Pilots with UK licences must now transfer to a European licence, with the resulting fees and exams, or they will be prevented from operating aircraft registered with the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA).

The same does not apply to European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) licences or UK pilots who had already converted to the European rules pre-Brexit.

The UK Government had agreed to recognise EASA licenses until the end of December 2022 in order to allow pilots with EU licences to fly aircraft registered in the UK.

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However, this gives EASA licensed pilots a distinct advantage over their UK counterparts in an already-competitive job market struggling to recover post-pandemic.

Now, the SNP MP for Dunfermline and West Fife has revealed he has written to the Department for Transport to call for a post-Brexit “reciprocal agreement between the UK and EU”.

Chapman said: “I have written to Robert Courts, the Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Transport asking him to secure a post-Brexit reciprocal agreement between the UK and EU regarding the transfer of UK CAA Flight Crew Licences to EASA member states licences.”

As well as recently launching an inquiry to plot a route to recoveryfor the aviation sector, the Department for Transport has launched an Aviation Skills Retention Platform to allow anyone from the sector currently out of work to register their skills in order to be notified of job and upskilling opportunities.

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However, the inequality with pilot licenses remains unaddressed. The UK Aviation sector has asked for the UK Government to set up a specialised committee by the end of this year to examine options for an annex for pilot and engineering licenses to be included within the Trade and Co-operation Agreement for UK participation in the EASA.

Chapman added: “The Aviation industry needs our support as it aims to recover from the double whammy of Brexit and Covid-19 while also building resilience in the face of the challenges to achieve net zero.

"It is crucial that the UK Government recognises the importance of retaining and valuing the talents and skills of this workforce, widely recognised as world leading in this field.

“With this in mind, I have also called on the Chancellor to consider financial support with the license conversion costs in order to prevent further job loss in this sector or indeed being unable to secure new employment over their EU/ESA licensed counterparts.”