The UK-EU trade deal, announced on 24 December 2020, includes agreements on air transport and aviation safety which are due to come into effect at 23.00 GMT on 31 December 2020 when the UK ceases to take part in the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and other EU institutions.

 While the agreements involve some elements of continuity, they do not constitute a replication of the UK’s regulatory arrangements as part of the EASA/EU framework and many sections of the aviation and aerospace industries will face changes after 31 December, as this microsite sets out.

We will study the detail of the new agreements and will update relevant pages of the microsite as information becomes clearer about how the new arrangements will work in practice. We will notify stakeholders of the updates through the SkyWise alert system. If you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to the EU exit category in the SkyWise system: skywise.caa.co.uk

Airline Operating Licence and Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders may need to take action to ensure they can continue to operate aircraft between the UK and the EU as previously. This page sets out areas that you need to consider. Note that individual circumstances will vary and are a matter for each business and individual. You may need to discuss your individual circumstances with us directly.

Will my company’s Operating Licence remain valid?

Yes. This licence is issued by the UK CAA and will remain in force provided the holder continues to meet the relevant grant criteria. Note that the basis on which ownership and control is governed will change for new Operating licences granted after 31 December 2020.  The CAA will publish updated guidance on this in due course.

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Will my Route Licence remain valid?

If you already hold a Route Licence this remains in force provided you continue to qualify for an Operating Licence.

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Will my UK AOC remain valid?

After 31 December 2020, an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) issued to airlines by the UK CAA remains valid for air services from the UK. (Please note that UK-issued AOCs might continue to display EASA references for a period until they are replaced – this reference does not affect their validity.)

If you currently rely on more extensive freedoms, such as flying within EU 27 Member States these arrangements will change, we recommend you contact the CAA’s Airline Licensing team as soon as possible:  foreigncarrierpermits@caa.co.uk

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Do UK operators require an EASA Part TCO to continue to fly into the EU?

After 31 December 2020, airlines with UK Air Operators Certificates (AOCs) will be considered 'third country' operators (TCOs).

TCOs require a safety authorisation from EASA in accordance with the requirements of Commission Regulation (EU) 452/2014 to operate within the European Common Aviation Area.

EASA announced previously that it would accept TCO applications from UK AOC holders and has adopted a streamlined process for UK carriers. Details on that process and a link to the application form are available here: https://www.easa.europa.eu/brexit

Note: you will not be able to undertake commercial operations to, from or within the European Common Aviation Area without an EASA TCO.
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UPDATE: Will UK airlines have access to European markets and will permission be required?

Services to EU27 countries

The UK and EU have negotiated a trade and co-operation agreement.

This agreement allows commercial air transport services between any points in EU 27 States and the UK (3rd and 4th freedoms) to continue on a reciprocal basis. A permit or permission is required to be held before a commercial flight is undertaken.

Each EU27 state maintains their own separate system for such permissions. It may be that several such permissions are required to support a planned flight. Some EU27 systems require accreditation before such flight permission can be granted.

If you currently rely on more extensive freedoms, such as flying within EU 27 Member States these arrangements have changed, we recommend you contact the CAA’s Airline Licensing team as soon as possible:  foreigncarrierpermits@caa.co.uk

Services to EEA/EFTA countries outside the EU

The UK has negotiated comprehensive Air Services Agreements with those States that are part of EEA/EFTA (but not the EU27) which allows commercial air transport services between any points in those States and any in the UK (3rd and 4th freedoms) to continue.

Services to countries beyond the EU/EEA/EFTA

The majority of the UK’s Air Service Agreements are unaffected by EU withdrawal. UK carriers no longer have access to traffic rights under the EU’s air service agreements with other states. The Department for Transport (DfT) has replaced, or is in the process of replacing, any EU Air Service Agreements on which UK air carriers rely. 

Further information can be sought from the International Aviation Team at DfT or on this page: www.gov.uk/transport/air-routes

 

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Will the ownership and control requirements of UK airlines be affected?

The way the legal and regulatory framework for ownership and control is being transposed into UK law means that the requirement to be majority-owned and effectively controlled by EU nationals will change, since that definition would no longer apply to UK nationals. In future, nationality restrictions will no longer be part of the Operating Licence but will be governed through a Route Licence.

UK carriers which currently undertake air services between the UK and third countries outside the EEA already hold such a licence. For others this is a new mandatory requirement. The CAA has written to all UK Operating Licence holders to explain this, and the process for obtaining one if not currently held. Should carriers not meet the UK nationality test, then the Secretary of State has the power to grant or approve the retention of such a licence.

All previously issued Operating and Route Licences remain valid, including circumstances where an existing licence holder is currently majority owned or effectively controlled by qualifying EEA, as opposed to UK, nationals under the current regulations.

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Will the ownership and control requirements of EU airlines be affected?

To obtain and keep an EU 27 operating licence and benefit from the intra-EU air traffic rights, air carriers must comply at all times with the conditions under Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 on air services.

The conditions include the need to be majority owned and effectively controlled by EU Member States and/or nationals of EU Member States. If these conditions are no longer fulfilled because of the UK leaving EU, the Operating Licence at issue would no longer be valid.

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Will EU27/EFTA operators become third country operators? - (UK Part TCO)

After 31 December 2020, an airline based in an EU or EFTA member state will require a Third Country Operator (TCO) certificate from the CAA before operating any commercial flight to or within UK territory.

 

The CAA wishes to ensure that the minimum possible regulatory burden is placed on air carriers in bringing in this requirement.  While each application will be considered individually, the CAA will be prepared in principle to grant a UK TCO to any EU27/EFTA carrier that holds a valid EASA AOC for all the aircraft that it intends to operate in the UK.

The UK Part TCO application form and guidance can be found here.

 

A list of issued UK Part TCO’s can be found here.

 

See also Foreign Carrier Permit pages on the CAA website.

 

If you have any queries in relation to the above then you should contact the Airline Licensing Team:  foreigncarrierpermits@caa.co.uk

 

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Will the arrangements for wet-leasing aircraft outside the UK remain the same?

Yes. The legislation translating EU law into UK law under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 provides continuity for approving wet-leases of aircraft from the EU and from the rest of the world. 

 

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Will the arrangements for EU airlines wishing to wet-lease UK aircraft remain the same?

Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 on air services concerning the use of ‘third country’ registered aircraft means EU aircraft operators intending to wet-lease aircraft registered in the United Kingdom will be bound by the corresponding provisions relating to such aircraft.

Airlines should consider the impact of this change on their operations. Please contact CAA’s Airline Licensing Team for further advice.

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Will other UK CAA Flight Operations permissions, approvals, variations and exemptions continue to be recognised?

All permissions, approvals, variations and exemptions (PAVEs) current and valid on 31 December 2020 will continue to be recognised by the UK within the scope and terms of their issue. According to the European Commission’s previously declared position, CAA-issued PAVEs will no longer be recognised by EU member states. However they will retain validity under UK law.

Entities with a UK-issued PAVE seeking to conduct activities within the scope/terms of their PAVE within an EU member state should contact EASA as soon as possible or the appropriate competent authority to understand the requirements of that specific state.

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Will aviation security search and screening arrangements for passengers and their bags remain the same?

Yes. EU baseline security measures have been incorporated into UK law and the additional security measures already in place in the UK will continue to apply, so passengers flying from UK airports should experience no change at security as a result of the end of the transition period.  In addition, the EU has recognised UK standards so passengers flying from the UK may continue to transfer at an EU airport for an onward flight without the need for additional security rescreening.

 

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Will security arrangements for cargo and mail remain the same?

Yes. The EU has passed legislation recognising UK cargo security arrangements as equivalent, meaning that cargo can continue to be flown from the UK to the EU without an “ACC3” security designation. Equally, the UK will not require such security designations for air carriers flying cargo from EU airports to the UK. The effect is that current security arrangements for transporting air cargo and mail to or from the EU will remain unchanged.

For cargo inbound to the UK from non-EU countries, from 1 January 2021 the UK is implementing a replacement UK ACC3 Scheme which will be equivalent in operation to the EU regime. Under this Scheme the UK will continue to recognise existing EU ACC3 designations, including those of the carriers’ validated secure supply chains, until their expiry, at which point they will need to apply under the UK Scheme. Cargo flown from countries where designation is not required under the EU Scheme will continue to be so exempt under the UK Scheme.  The CAA has published guidance outlining the UKACC3 Scheme, including designation criteria for new approvals, which is available here:

CAP2015: UK ACC3 Scheme (inbound cargo) Guidance (caa.co.uk)

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Will the requirements for consumer information and passenger rights remain the same?

Yes. Airlines will still be required to meet their previous obligations under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 and the ATOL regulations.

Airlines should consider how to best ensure that customers are aware of their rights when buying flight tickets and holidays and how to pursue them if services are disrupted.

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How does the UK leaving EASA affect the application of Airworthiness Directives for the UK-registered aircraft that I own, operate or manage?

All EU regulations current and valid on 31 December 2020 are retained in UK domestic legislation, including Regulation (EU) No 1321/2014, Part M. This means owners, operators and Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisations (CAMOs) must continue to review and apply applicable Airworthiness Directives to their respective fleets based on requirements for the aircraft and its engines, propellers and equipment as set out in CAP 747 Mandatory Requirements for Airworthiness. 

Issue 4 of CAP 747 has been updated to reflect the new UK-EU framework. 

Section 1, Part 1 provides new flowcharts to assist in identifying the applicable mandatory requirements for airworthiness relating to your product. The revision history in CAP 747 provides more details on the changes to the CAP.

You can view CAP 747 here: www.caa.co.uk/CAP747 

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With the UK outside EASA, has the classification of aircraft in CAP 747 changed?

Issue 4 of CAP 747 has been published to reflect the new UK-EU regulatory arrangements.

Each aircraft type is categorised as either:

  • a “Part 21 aircraft”; an aircraft that is included in the scope of Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 (as retained by The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018); or
  • a “non-Part 21 aircraft”; an aircraft that is subject to the Air Navigation Order.

The CAA will ensure any mandatory requirements for UK-registered aircraft are reflected within CAP 747 and also made available via the CAA website Airworthiness Directive page. For enquiries relating to ADs, please email ad.unit@caa.co.uk

 

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