Guidance for airline operators and staff

Flights carrying fare-paying passengers, or cargo for which payment has been taken, must be operated by companies or individuals holding specific safety approvals and commercial licences which ensure the passenger is appropriately protected.

Companies or individuals must hold an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) which is granted by the CAA to companies or individuals that have shown they meet the higher safety standards required to carry fare-paying passengers. This covers the entire operation from the training and experience of the crew to the maintenance of the aircraft and planning of the flights.

Most air operators will also need to hold an Operating Licence, in line with European Council requirements governing the operation of air services within the European Economic Area (EEA). In order to be granted an Operating Licence, air operators must satisfy the CAA that, amongst other aspects, they hold appropriate passenger and third party insurance and that they are majority owned and controlled by EEA nationals. Airlines operating aircraft with 20 seats or more must also satisfy the CAA that they have in place sufficient funding to support the business.

The CAA has continuous oversight of AOC and Operating Licence holders and can remove the certificate or licence at any time if it feels that the company cannot maintain the required safety standards or no longer meets the necessary criteria for holding an Operating Licence.


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