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UK CAA Brexit guidance for operators

If no deal for leaving the EU is agreed between the EU and the UK, Airline Operating Licence and Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) holders operating to and from the UK need to act to ensure they can continue to operate as they currently do. The UK CAA has provided guidance for operators.

Guidance for UK operators

Once the UK has left the EU, airlines with UK Air Operators Certificates (AOC) would be considered ‘third country’ operators (TCOs).

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

EASA has now announced that it accepting TCO applications from UK AOC holders and that it will adopt a streamlined process for UK carriers. Details on that process and a link to the application form are available here:

After this date, if you are an airline based in an EU or EFTA member state, you would require a Third Country Operator (TCO) certificate from the CAA before operating any commercial flight to or within UK territory.

The UK 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 of the aircraft that intend to operate in the UK.

Air Carriers certified outside the EU27 or European Free Trade Area (EFTA)

The UK will continue to recognise any Part-TCO issued EASA for a period of up to two years from the day of the UK’s exit from the EU, or until that approval is replaced with a UK equivalent.  The CAA’s acceptance of an EASA TCO will be dependent upon that approval continuing to be valid for operations within the ECAA for all aircraft that it is intended to operate in the UK.

Note the CAA will not consider any UK Part-TCO applications for operations within UK territory by air carriers certified outside the EU until after the UK’s exit.  Details of that process will be published at that time.

Air Carriers certified within the EU27 and EFTA only

To ensure service continuity by EU27 and EFTA air carriers after the UK leaves the EU, the CAA will now accept advance applications from such air carriers for UK-Part TCO approvals.

There is no administration fee due if a UK TCO application is made prior to 30 March 2019.

See also Foreign Carrier Permit pages on the CAA website.

Application Process 

The UK Part TCO application form can be found here:

The following information will need to be submitted with an application:

  • A copy of your Certificate of Incorporation/Business Registration;
  • A copy of your existing AOC and associated Operations Specifications
  • A schedule of aircraft it is planned to operate.

Note: Incomplete applications will not be processed until all outstanding information has been received.

No administration fee is payable provided a complete application is submitted before 29 March 2019


Applications should be sent as soon as possible. Any application received after Thursday, 14 March 2019 will be considered as soon as possible, but a decision may not be made until after Friday, 29 March 2019 (currently the date the UK would exit the EU unless a transition period is agreed).


A UK Part-TCO authorisation issued to a EU27, EEA or Swiss AOC holder will become valid at the point the UK exits the EU.

Note that in addition to a UK-Part TCO any commercial operations to the UK will also require a Foreign Carrier Permit issued by the CAA – details can be found here:

List of operators granted full UK-TCO

The list does not include many ERA members and I would encourage operators to consider the guidance provided as soon as possible.

If you have any queries in relation to the above then please do not hesitate to contact the UK CAA either by email or on +44 (0) 207 453 6333.

For further questions, please contact