Continued UK membership of the European Aviation Safety Agency, suggested by prime minister Theresa May in her Brexit speech on Friday, has been welcome by UK airlines.

The UK is one of the biggest contributors to the safety body’s working groups

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK said: “Airlines are clear in their view that it is vital for the UK to continue membership of the European Aviation Safety Agency, with all EASA rules and regulations applied to UK operators and companies based here, and we’re pleased that the PM has formally put this on the table ahead of the negotiation.

“As she set out, there is precedent for this, as non-EU countries such as Switzerland are members of EASA, and in return for paying in to the budget contribute fully to the technical working groups and policy committees and play an active role in rule making.

“The Swiss have similar issues with the ECJ [European Court of Justice] as the UK and yet this has not prevented them from working within EASA to improve international aviation safety.”

He added: “The UK has always made a substantial contribution to EASA with respect to both people and funding – supplying around 50 members of staff and paying in over €5 million a year to the budget.

“It is one of the biggest technical contributors to EASA’s working groups and other work programmes and many of those contributors are employees of UK airlines.

“It has also always been willing to share with EASA the acknowledged expertise of the Civil Aviation Authority.

“We hope and expect that common sense will prevail and that both sides will see that there is precedent here and that the UK’s future participation in EASA is in everyone’s best interests moving forward.”

MoreSpecial Report: No mood to overturn Brexit

EasyJet confident UK-EU flights will continue after Brexit

Ryanair’s O’Leary issues fresh Brexit aviation warning