The best way for the aerospace sector to take advantage of global growth opportunities post-Brexit is to maintain harmonisation and not diverge from international standards, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee concludes.
Impact of Brexit on aerospace sector
A report on the impact of Brexit on the aerospace sector, says any departure and divergence from global standards would be 'utterly self-defeating' with no trade-off between close harmonisation with the EU and access to markets beyond.
The industry stands to benefit from substantial growth opportunities beyond the EU in the coming years, with 34,000 deliveries of new aircraft worldwide forecast between 2017 and 2036.
The Committee concludes that the best way to take advantage of increasing global demand is continued membership of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and that a departure could be protracted and costly and give no practical benefit. It calls on the Government to bring certainty and clarity by ruling out the UK's departure without a deal.
The report states that non-tariff barriers remain a significant concern to the industry, with delays at the border of even just a few hours a risk to the competitiveness of the sector.
Evidence suggests that increased checks at the future UK-EU border could add £1.5billion a year to costs for an industry which relies on just-in-time supply chains.
Aerospace accounts for 7 per cent of manufacturing output in the UK and directly employs 114,000 people. One of the key players is Airbus UK, while other major firms in the civil aerospace sector include Rolls-Royce, Bombardier, GKN and Leonardo Helicopters.
Success dependent on participation in European and global supply chains
Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said: "The aerospace sector is one of the most productive and fastest growing in the UK but this success is highly dependent on participation in European and global supply chains. The health of the industry relies on components moving quickly across borders with delays of even a few hours having a significant impact on costs.
“Given this, the Government must ensure custom procedures are kept to an absolute minimum after we leave the EU.
“In a truly global industry, membership of EASA gives the UK access to markets across the world through internationally recognised safety standards. Leaving would be completely counter-productive and leave the aerospace industry facing total chaos.
“The Government should now rule out leaving EASA to ensure the UK aerospace industry has the best possible chance of success post-Brexit.
“The Committee has now examined the impact of Brexit on three key sectors of the UK economy, the automotive and civil nuclear sector and now aerospace, and the lessons are similar each time: the best way forward for jobs and businesses lies in alignment, harmonisation and participation in EU supply chains and regulatory bodies."
With the aerospace sector a significant beneficiary of EU funding, the Committee also says the UK should maintain its membership of Horizon 2020, the Clean Sky Joint Understanding and other collaborative R&D programmes.
Click here for the full report (28 PDF pages) on the UK Parliament website.