Operating Licence holders can fly on most routes within the EEA without needing to apply for separate licences for
An Operating Licence relates to the nature, ownership and financial health of an airline business. Operational
safety is assessed under the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) scheme.
Applicants for an Operating Licence need to have a valid AOC.
Please contact the CAA with any queries or to discuss your application.
The requirements for each type of licence are set out below. In many respects the requirements are identical, with
the following exceptions:
Full details of requirements to qualify for an Operating Licence are available in the publication Official Record Series 1 – Licensing UK Airlines.
Your principal place of business must be in the UK to qualify for an Operating Licence from the CAA.
The main occupation of the licence holder must be either
The business which will hold the Operating Licence must be:
by nationals of European Economic Area (EEA) Member States or by Member States themselves.
For more information read this guidance note on ownership and control.
Holders of either type of Operating Licence are required to advise the CAA within 14 days of any change affecting
the ownership of the licence holder and/or its parent or ultimate holding company.
Before an Operating Licence is granted, the applicant must demonstrate that sufficient insurance is in place
More detailed information on insurance requirements, including minimum required levels, is available on the
Insurance page in this section of the website.
Applicants for a Type A Operating Licence must demonstrate that they have sufficient funding for the first two years
of operations, including that they are able to meet their costs for the first three months of operations without
The exact amount of funding is established by the CAA based on a realistic business plan submitted by the
The CAA will continue to monitor the financial health of Type A Operating Licence holders.
Licences can be revoked or suspended by the CAA if it considers a Licence holder’s resources are no longer
adequate for the operation of an airline.
Full details of financial requirements for Type A Operating Licences are available in Official Record Series 1 –
Licensing Airlines in the UK.
Holding an Operating Licence does not offer any kind of financial protection to passengers. The issue of
financial protection for passengers is covered in full in the ATOL section of this website.
An Operating Licence does not certify an airline’s operational safety. This is assessed under the Air
Operator Certificate scheme.
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