• When a UK air carrier wishes to lease-in an aircraft or a UK air carrier / private company wishes to lease-out a UK registered aircraft to a foreign operator, a variety of arrangements have to be made. These arrangements can involve the CAA, the Department for Transport and contact with foreign authorities.

    Once the arrangements have been accepted, the CAA and, as appropriate, the DfT, will issue the necessary Approvals, Directions, Exemptions, Permissions and Licence Validations (depending on the type of lease) before the aircraft can be legally operated under the agreement.

    The internal procedures involved in processing a lease application are often complex. Therefore, as much notice as possible should be given to the CAA, so that the arrangements can be made before the planned start date of the lease. For dry leasing, as other agencies are involved, some outside the UK, it is not possible to predict how long it will take to process a lease application. Experience indicates that one month is the minimum time required, but it may well be more.

    • Dry Lease Agreement - An agreement between undertakings pursuant to which the aircraft is operated under the AOC of the lessee.
    • Wet Lease Agreement - An agreement between air carriers pursuant to which the aircraft is operated under the AOC of the lessor.
    • Damp Lease - A wet lease with partial crew

    The definitions shown above have been extracted from Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008 (common rules for the operation of air services in the Community) and Regulation (EU) No. 965/2012 (Air Operations Regulation). 

    Lease

    “… contractual arrangement whereby a properly licensed air operator gains commercial control of an entire aircraft without transfer of ownership”. (ICAO Doc 8335).

    Lessor

    “… the party from which the aircraft is leased”. (ICAO Doc 8335).

    Lessee

    “… the party to which the aircraft is leased”. (ICAO Doc 8335).

    A dry lease agreement

    “… an agreement between undertakings pursuant to which the aircraft is operated under the AOC of the lessee…” (Article 2(24) of EC Reg 1008/2008 and Annex I, Paragraph 39 of EU Reg 965/2012).

    A wet lease agreement

    “… an agreement between air carriers pursuant to which the aircraft is operated under the AOC of the lessor…” (Article 2(25) of EC Reg 1008/2008 and Annex I, Paragraph 123 of EU Reg 965/2012).

    Damp lease

    “… wet-leased aircraft that includes a cockpit crew but not cabin attendants”. (ICAO Doc 8335).

    An 'Undertaking'

    “… any natural or legal person, whether profit-making or not, or any official body whether having its own legal personality or not…” (Article 2(3) of EC Reg 1008/2008 and Annex I, Paragraph 119 of EU Reg 965/2012).

    An 'Air Carrier'

    “… an undertaking with a valid operating licence or equivalent…” (Article 2(10) of EC Reg 1008/2008).

    A 'Community Air Carrier'

    “… an air carrier with a valid operating licence granted by a competent licensing authority in accordance with Chapter II…” (Article 2(11) of EC Reg 1008/2008).

    State of Registry

    the “… State on whose register the aircraft is entered”. (ICAO Doc 8335).

    State of Operator

    “… State in which the operator's principal place of business is located or, if there is no such place of business, the operator's permanent residence”. (ICAO Doc 8335).

    Principal place of business

    “… the head office or registered office of a Community air carrier in the Member State within which the principal financial functions and operational control, including continued airworthiness management, of the Community air carrier are exercised”. (Article 2(2) of EC Reg 1008/2008).

    International leasing involves the lease-in of any non-UK registered aircraft (including aircraft registered in other EU Member States) or where a 'G' Reg aircraft is being leased-out to a non-UK AOC (including to other EU States). Under these arrangements, the aircraft is being leased across national boundaries, therefore State of Registry and State of Operator regulatory safety oversight responsibilities will need to be considered.

    Depending upon the type of lease involved, the State of Registry and State of Operator may not be the same. (e.g. where a non-UK registered aircraft is to be operated under a UK AOC (dry lease-in), the UK CAA would become State of Operator, with the other authority remaining as State of Registry).

    • Dry Leasing 
    • Wet and Damp Leasing

    Domestic leasing only involves UK registered aircraft and is an arrangement either between two UK AOC holders or from a private company (e.g. leasing company or bank) to a UK AOC holder. Prior lease approval is still required, but such approval may fall under the CAA's General Approval of Leasing Agreements (in the CAA's Official Record Series 4), provided it fits within the set criteria of the General Approval.

    Please Note: When leasing-in aircraft , the information detailed in AMC1 ORO.AOC.110 (GENERAL) along with the signed statement from the Lessee that all parties involved with the lease agreement are aware of their respective responsibilities under the lease agreement.

    Please see CAA General Approval of Leasing Agreements for types of leases which are approved under the CAA's general lease approval.

    Note:

    Please note the condition to this general approval (see paragraph 5 of ORS4 Number 1053) which limits use of paragraph 3) to a maximum of five days in a calendar month.

    For example, if a UK AOC wet-leases in another Community air carrier for three days without prior specific approval from the UK CAA, it would still have two days available for further wet-leasing in without prior specific approval during the rest of that calendar month.

    After the five days, specific approval must be requested from the CAA Leasing Co-ordinator.