Exemptions from the display of Marks

Exemptions from the need to display Marks on UK Registered Aircraft

Article 10 of The Air Navigation Order 2009 states that aircraft registered in the United Kingdom shall not fly unless they bear the nationality and registration marks allocated by the CAA.

In certain cases exemptions to Article 10 are granted for aircraft to fly without bearing UK nationality and registration marks.  The CAA Aircraft Registration section policy is only to exempt aircraft which display historically accurate military liveries and marks which are relevant to the aircraft type in question.  Once it is issued the exemption is non-expiring providing the aircraft remains in the agreed markings and the aircraft remains on the UK Register.

Exemptions will not be granted for aircraft to fly with UK nationality and registration marks smaller than those specified in Schedule 3, Part C of the Air Navigation Order 2009.

Exemptions will also not be granted for aircraft to fly with foreign registration marks even if the UK nationality and registration marks are properly displayed. 

However, for filming purposes only, exemptions may be granted for aircraft to bear non-standard markings for prescribed limited periods of time at specified locations.

If the aircraft is to bear military markings permission must be obtained from the Ministry of Defence or the appropriate foreign government and sent to the CAA, Aircraft Registration section.  One exception to this is aircraft wearing United States Air Force markings as the US Embassy have granted permission for UK registered aircraft to wear their authentic markings as long as the aircraft type is no longer in USAF use or in their service inventory. 

Permission of the UK MOD should be sought from the contact details shown below. 

RAF Events Team

Bentley Priory Building

RAF Northolt

West End Road



Telephone   (020) 8833 8769

Fax                 (020) 8833 8763

Please note that the normal letter of permission issued by the UK MOD excludes flights outside of UK airspace and gives permission to the applicant rather than the aircraft which may change ownership in the future.   A new owner of an exempted aircraft should re-apply to the MOD for their permission to maintain these markings under new ownership. Once an exemption is issued by the CAA it should also be noted that this allows the flying of the aircraft in UK airspace only, if the aircraft is to be flown outside the UK then extra permission must be sought from the authorities of the countries visited or over flown.

To apply for an exemption from the requirements to display nationality and registration marks please complete the Exemption application form and return it o the Aircraft Registration section along with the appropriate fee, see forms and fees. The CAA Aircraft Registration section also requires the following information in support of an application for the exemption:-

  1. A current colour photograph or photographs clearly showing the livery and marks carried by the aircraft concerned, or a colour diagram showing the intended livery and marks to be carried by the aircraft concerned.
  2. Literature (which includes diagrams or pictures) on the aircraft which would allow the Aircraft Registration Section to verify the authenticity of the livery carried by the aircraft; and,

Other permissions should be sought from the Embassy of the relevant country concerned or direct from the relevant military air arm.

Upon receipt of the application we will either issue the requested exemption or advise the applicant of any further actions required in accordance with our Service Standards.

Once an exemption has been granted, any changes to the markings displayed on the aircraft must be notified immediately in writing to the Aircraft Registration section.