Supplementary Guidance

Supplementary Guidance when applying for an aerodrome licence

Legal Requirement for an Aerodrome to be Licensed:  The requirements for an aerodrome to be licensed are described in Article 208 of the Air Navigation Order 2009, but may be summarised as applying to those aerodromes where flights for the purpose of the commercial air transport of passengers or the public transport of passengers, and/or flying training in aircraft above specified maximum total weights authorised take place.

Unlicensed Aerodromes:  Although many aerodromes do not need a licence to carry out flying activities, the CAA is still responsible for all matters affecting the safety of aircraft at aerodromes through its regulation of aircraft operations and maintenance.  CAP 793 Safe Operating Practices at Unlicensed Aerodromes provides guidance and advice on setting up and operating an unlicensed aerodrome, including helicopter landing sites.

If you wish to make a formal application for an Aerodrome Licence, the following information may be of assistance to you.  The same procedure is followed for Temporary, Seasonal and Permanent Aerodrome Licences.  At the earliest opportunity, applicants are advised to contact us via giving as much detail as possible regarding future proposals and developments, and also to familiarise themselves with the criteria in Civil Aviation Publication (CAP)168 Licensing of Aerodromes.

Your attention to the following points can help to ensure that your application will proceed smoothly.

1   Time scale for processing of applications - It is important that applicants submit the required paperwork sufficiently early to allow for detailed consideration of the application, including the aerodrome manual, and for inspection of the site.  CAP 168 (Licensing of Aerodromes) states currently that to complete the licensing process will take a minimum of 60 days from the date on which the aerodrome manual is agreed with the CAA.  Applicants can and do experience unforeseen difficulties in meeting licensing requirements and this may prolong the process.  The CAA cannot undertake to reach a licensing decision within a particular time scale or to meet a commercial deadline of the applicant.

2   Control over the aerodrome - The CAA must be satisfied that the applicant for, or holder of an aerodrome licence has control over or access to the operational areas of the aerodrome in order for him to meet his obligations under the Air Navigation Order.  The applicant must be either the landowner or have the permission of the owner to use the site as an aerodrome, with rights to control the aerodrome under the terms of a lease or other operating agreement.  (Overall responsibility and accountability for the management of safety at an aerodrome lies with the licence holder.)  The applicant shall provide to the CAA details of leases held within the licensed area, or of any third parties holding rights over any part of the licensed area.

If mixed operations will take place at the aerodrome or there is other aerial or aerodrome activity in the vicinity of the site, applicants must satisfy the CAA that they will have in place adequate procedures for the safe integration of all such aviation activities.  A licence will not be issued until or unless this is achieved.  See also Aerodrome Traffic Zones below.

3   Aerodrome Traffic Zones (ATZ) - Where ab initio flying training is to take place, or where the site has complex airspace, applicants will have to satisfy the CAA that they have established adequate means to secure that the airspace within the visual traffic pattern is safe for use by aircraft.  Normally this is best achieved by the establishment of an ATZ.  Applications for an ATZ should be addressed to CAA, Off-Route Airspace 5, K6 Gate 3, CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE.  Should you wish to discuss your ATZ requirement please telephone 020 7453 6545. If the establishment of an ATZ is not practicable, applicants will be required, through other equivalent means, to satisfy the CAA on their competence to secure the safety of airspace.

4   Air Traffic Services - To obtain permissions and frequency allocations, you should contact Air Traffic Services via

5   Helicopter operations/licensed heliports - CAP 168 does not cover specifically the operation of, or criteria for, licensed heliports.  In assessing acceptability for licensing purposes, the CAA will use the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices for sites used solely by helicopters.  These are described in detail in ICAO Annexe 14 Volume II Heliports and in the ICAO Heliport Manual.  Heliports (inc Helipads) that do not require to be licensed should consult with CAA Flight Operations Inspectorate (Helicopters) at Aviation House, Gatwick Airport South, West Sussex, RH6 0YR, or email  See also Unlicensed Landing Sites web page including reference to CAP 793 Safe Operating Practices at Unlicensed Aerodromes.

6   Statutory requirements of other bodies
  - The submission of a licence application or the grant of an aerodrome licence does not exempt applicants from meeting the statutory requirements of other bodies including local planning authorities.  The existence of an aerodrome is primarily a local planning matter and the planning process also may examine the environmental impact of proposed aerodrome operations on the local community.  If planning permission, where required, is not granted, it is unlikely that you will be able to use the site for more than 28 days a year, whether it is licensed or not. The CAA considers that it would normally be appropriate for applicants to apply for planning permission, where required, and to have a reasonable expectation that such permission will be granted, before applying for an aerodrome licence.

7   Charges for aerodrome licences - Applicants undertake to pay the CAA’s charges in respect of an aerodrome licence application; these are published in the CAA Scheme of Charges.  These charges relate to the licensing process which begins once an application is received, and do not necessarily guarantee the grant of an aerodrome licence.  The CAA’s charges for Aerodrome Licences are published in the Official Record Series 5.  Your attention is drawn in particular to paragraph 3.1, and the hourly charge above the threshold number of hours expended by the CAA in dealing with your application.

8  Aerodrome licensing forms - For an application for a Permanent or a Seasonal Aerodrome Licence please use Form SRG 2002 Application for an Aerodrome Licence.  Before completing the form you are advised to read the relevant section of the Air Navigation Order.  This form can be completed online, then printed, signed and submitted as instructed.

For an application for a Temporary Aerodrome Licence please use Form SRG 2003 Application for a Temporary Aerodrome Licence.  Before completing the form you are advised to read the relevant section of the Air Navigation Order.  This form can be completed online, then printed, signed and submitted as instructed.

If an Air/Ground radio frequency has not been allocated to the aerodrome then the applicant must apply for approval to establish a VHF Aeronautical Ground Radio Station.  In order to do so, please use Form SRG 1417 Application to Establish or Change an Aeronautical Ground Station.

The production of an adequate Aerodrome Manual is a pre-requisite of licensing.  For guidance and assistance with compiling the Aerodrome Manual, please use the CAP 168 Chapter 2 Aerodrome Manual Checklist.  Please see CAP 168 Chapter 2 paragraph 7 for details of the submission of required documents in electronic form.

The applicant must provide the CAA with an adequate map, to the scale shown on the licence application form, showing the aerodrome boundary for licensing purposes.  Sufficient information regarding the aerodrome dimensions must be available and where necessary the applicant will have to undertake a survey at their expense.

9  Publications - CAA publications are available on the CAA website, and copies may be obtained from The Stationery Office (TSO), telephone 0870 600 5522, fax 0870 600 5533, email, website The Stationery Office

ICAO documents can be obtained from Airplan Flight Equipment, 1A Ringway Trading Estate, Shadowmoss Road, Manchester M22  5LH, telephone 0161 499 0023, e-mail sales@afeonline.comSee also Advisory Publicationspage