Aircraft Leasing - Regulations and Standards

Guidance on International, European and UK regulation and legislation.

International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)

ICAO Contracting States undertake to regulate aviation in their country. The State of Registry of the aircraft, in accordance with current Community and national law, sets criteria to ensure compliance with design standards, airworthiness and crew licensing; other matters are also covered. States license and supervise certificated carriers (e.g. AOC holders) with a view to setting standards designed to achieve a certain level of safety. When an aircraft registered in one State passes to the control of an operator in another State, the State of Registry may be unable to discharge the obligations allocated to it by the ICAO Convention. These obligations, set out in ICAO Annex 6, automatically fall on the State of Operator. This situation is resolved by the regulatory authorities of the two States agreeing to a common understanding of oversight responsibilities for the aircraft for a set period.

European Regulations (Approval Requirements)

Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008 of 24 September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community (Recast)

Article 13 of Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008 deals with aircraft leasing.  Article 13(2) requires prior safety approval  (in accordance with applicable Community1 or national law2) for dry lease agreements to which a Community air carrier is a party (i.e. dry lease-in and dry lease-out)  or wet lease agreements where the Community air carrier is the lessee of the wet leased aircraft (i.e. wet lease-in). The Regulation does not require prior approval for wet leasing-out (i.e. where the UK operator is the lessor of the wet leased aircraft). However, the UK CAA requires UK operators to notify their FOIs when wet leasing-out their aircraft.  [Note: Future EASA Implementing Rules for Air Operations will require notification to the CAA before wet leasing-out an aircraft (Part-ORO, paragraph ORO.AOC.110(f)).]

1  Community law – lease approval issued under Council Regulation (EEC) No 3922/91, Annex III (EU-OPS), OPS 1.165
2 UK National law – lease approval is issued under Regulation 17(1) of UK Statutory Instrument 2009 No. 41.

Wet leasing-in of an aircraft registered in a third country (i.e non-Community lessor) requires an approval under Article 13(3) of Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008.  This is issued by the Department of Transport (DfT).   [Note: For aeroplanes, Article 13(3) approval from the DfT and EU-OPS 1.165 lease approval from the CAA are both required.]

Council Regulation (EEC) No. 3922/91, Annex III (EU-OPS)  - applies only to commercial air transport aeroplanes

EU-OPS, OPS 1.165 refers to Leasing.  Prior lease approval is required for:

  • a Community operator entering into a dry lease-in agreement;
  • a dry lease-out agreement to a Community operator;
  • a wet lease-in agreement. 

Although EU-OPS 1.165 does not refer to an approval when dry leasing-out an aircraft to a third country operator, it does require an Exemption from OPS 1.165.  [Note:  As Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 requires approval when dry leasing-out to a third country, UK national law was created to cover this approval requirement (see below).]

UK National Legislation

UK Implementing Regulations (Statutory Instrument 2009 No. 41)

Statutory Instrument SI 2009 No. 41 on ‘The Operation of Air Services in the Community Regulation 2009’ provides the legal means for the CAA to implement the provisions of Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008. Part 2, Leased aircraft, Regulations 14 to 21 of this SI covers Registration of Aircraft, nomination of the CAA as the Competent Licensing Authority for various parts of Article 13 and provides the legal basis for issuing approvals under Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008.

[Note:  Regulation 17(1) of UK SI 2009 No 41 is used to approve helicopter leases and when dry leasing-out a UK registered aircraft to a third country operator.]

Overview of Leasing Approval Requirements

In the United Kingdom, lease safety approvals are required under one of three Regulations depending on the type of lease and the aircraft type involved:

  • Article 13(3) of Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008 by the DfT (for wet leasing-in a third country registered aircraft)
  • Council Regulation (EEC) No. 3922/91, Annex III (EU-OPS), OPS 1.165 (aeroplanes only)
  • Regulation 17(1) of UK Statutory Instrument 2009 No. 41

Please use the following links to access further information:

Leasing Application Charges

Details of the charges to be paid to the CAA in connection with processing Aircraft Leasing applications can be found in the CAA Scheme of Charges, as published in the Official Record Series 5 (ORS5).  

The ORS5 documents relating to leasing application charges are:

  • Air Operator and Police Air Operator Certification
  • Personnel Licensing

How to Contact Us

CAA Leasing Manager
Flight Operations Policy Department
United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority
Safety Regulation Group
1W, Aviation House
Gatwick Airport South
West Sussex.  RH6 0YR

Tel  No.  +44 (0)1293 57 3422