The concerns ramp up the pressure on ministers to achieve a Brexit deal to ensure continuity for Britain’s aerospace sector, the largest in Europe and second only to the US.
Theresa May’s Mansion House speech last month identified as “critical” the UK remaining part of EASA. The Prime Minister said she accepted this meant “abiding by [its] rules and making an appropriate financial contribution”.
However, industry sources say guidance from Government is that negotiations about a transitional deal ahead of Britain leaving the EU in March 2019 are likely to “go to the wire”, meaning companies such as Rolls-Royce have been forced to protect themselves from costly disruption.
ADS, the trade association which represents the aerospace sector, highlighted the importance of a deal to protect the industry.
“From the moment of the referendum we have made absolutely clear we need to remain part of EASA,” said Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS. “We are reasonably optimistic – it seems to be one area on the EU on which everyone agrees.”
A spokesman for Rolls-Royce said the company was in “regular dialogue with ministers to ensure there is no interruption in our service to customers as a result of Brexit”.
He added that plans to transfer design approval for airliner engines were a “precautionary” measure and a final decision had not been made on such a move. The company said it “did not anticipate” jobs being transferred to Europe.