The Prime Minister’s Cabinet appears to have caved to bullies in Brussels as Brexit negotiations intensify.
In order to prevent disruption to planes after Brexit the UK is expected to ask to be part of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The body sets standards across Europe and is in charge of vital safety and maintenance checks.
Going ahead with it will cross Mrs May’s red line over there being “no ECJ jurisdiction after Brexit”.
But insiders say the plan is being drawn up.
A source told Sky News it is not a cap in hand situation as the UK provides a huge amount of the technical expertise in the EASA.
The request will be modelled as an offer since the valuable UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is calculated to produce 40 per cent of the officials with expert knowledge which keeps the EASA running.
One source said: “It is part of the second phase negotiating process, but it would be bizarre if we couldn’t be part of it.
“Plenty of countries outside of the EU are in EASA, although they don’t keep voting rights”.
The aviation industry was up in arms over Brexit as remoaners carried out a campaign of fear mongering, claiming British industry would suffer.
The Department for Transport has reportedly offered assurances to the aviation industry and aeronautical manufacturers.
Under Article 66 of EASA regulations a “clear” legal route for Britain to become a third-party country participant.
If the deal is accepted, any domestic fallouts over the application of safety regulation would be under the jurisdiction of UK courts, Sky reports.
Yet under EASA rules the ECJ is the ultimate arbiter of EASA rulings.
Pressure has been piled on the Government by the US Federal Aviation Authority amid warnings flights will break the law if they are not under a legal structure for aviation safety.
Captain Mike Vivian, former head of flight operations and chief flight operations inspector at the CAA, told Sky News: “If you have an alternative system of jurisdiction… if you do that in aviation, you could of course open up different safety standards.
“That would be impossible to accede to, so you have to accept the jurisdiction of the ECJ, which oversees the European agency, EASA, to avoid that happening.
“I can’t see there’s any way out of that. It’s a red line, it seems to me, the Government is going to have to cross.”
Giants in the aviation world appear to have taken Brexit in their stride, including British Airways and Heathrow Airport.
Less well established players on the market are concerned the split could damage business.
Robert Sinclair, the new chief executive of London City Airport said an arrangement must be made because a “np deal” split would be bad news for the aviation industry.
“I think for critical industries like aviation, which is an enabler of other industries and trade and tourism, the consequences of ‘no deal’ are very, very significant,” he said.
“Single market consistency has driven air fares down, which has made flying the preserve of everyone, not just the few.
“And it’s made it a lot more prolific and allowed people right across Britain to experience Europe.
“Unfortunately, if we lose that, the risk is that flying becomes more the preserve of the few, like it was 30 or 40 years ago.”
“I think we don’t know, because we’ve been asking those questions, we’ve been begging for contingencies to be put in place, we don’t have answers.”