Aircraft Leasing

Guidance on the different types of aircraft leases and the associated regulations

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.

Types of leases and their definitions

  • 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).

International Leasing (crossing national boundaries)

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).

Domestic 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.


General Approval of Leasing Agreements Entered into by a UK Air Carrier

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

If you have any queries on the use of this general approval please contact the CAA Leasing Co-ordinator.


How to contact us

CAA Leasing Co-ordinator
Shared Service Centre
UK Civil Aviation Authority
Aviation House - 1W
Gatwick Airport South
West Sussex

Tel No:   +44 (0)1293 573422