Last month Lauda Europe – an airline owned by Irish aviation giant Ryanair – advertised for captains and first officers at its base at Stansted Airport. But the advert stated applicants must have a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) licence if they were going to be considered for the role. The UK left the EASA at the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of last year, meaning UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) licences are no longer valid for use on EU-registered aircraft.
It is a major blow to British pilots following Brexit because many of them – who generally hold CAA licences – cannot apply for a job based in the UK.
Pilot Tim Hallett shared the news on LinkedIn and wrote: “British workers (are) now barred from applying for work in Britain due to holding British qualifications.
“On 31 July 2021, a job advert for Lauda Europe part of Ryanair seeking pilots for its Stansted base would not accept applications from pilots with British CAA Licences.
“Now a UK pilots’ licence is not valid in Essex! We have a long history of fighting discrimination in the United Kingdom.
“British workers will not be discriminated against for holding British qualifications.”
Now Britons have launched a furious attack against the EU as yet another post-Brexit row threatens to erupt.
Reacting to our initial story, one Express.co.uk reader raged: “It’s amazing that pilots all around the world can fly anywhere in the world with qualifications from anywhere in the world.
“The EU really are doing themselves no favours and the world is watching.”
Another person wrote: “Simple. The EU must recognise the UK pilot qualification or we do not recognise theirs!”
For the job advert in question, Lauda Europe had been recruiting for pilots to fly its Airbus A320 aircraft.
But following Brexit, UK licences are no longer valid for use on EU-registered aircraft – such as those operated by Lauda Europe.
Captain Martin Chalk, acting general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) told industry website FlightGlobal the Brexit withdrawal agreement with the EU has place UK-licensed pilots “at a disadvantage”.
Last month the union, which has more than 16,000 members, urged the Government to make a “swift” mutual recognition of licences.
BALPA claimed UK pilot licences have been “seriously degraded in value and utility” and are in essence blocking pilots from obtaining new employment, even at UK airports.
UK pilots can seek EASA validation but the union has argued this is “unduly costly and time-consuming”.
The European Commission has reportedly stated there are no ongoing talks with the UK on the matter.
In minutes of a recent air crew technical body meeting – comprising representatives of the Commission and EASA member states – it stated: “There is also currently no interest on either side to enlarge the agreement to licensing.
“[The] UK has repeatedly announced that it wants to diverge from EU rules and any extension of recognition of licences or training would also have to take account of the interests of the EU industry and ensure a level playing field between [the] EU and UK.”