• KEY NOTE: The below statement is only applicable if the UK remain a member of EASA post Britain’s exit from the European Union. If no deal for leaving the EU is agreed between the EU and the UK, Air Operator’s Certificates for Balloons (AOC(B)) system operating in the UK would remain and will not be replaced. The declaration system would not become UK legislation until such time that the UK adopted the regulation.  

    EASA have established a simple and proportionate rule set for balloons and to restructure them into one document. This document is called the EASA Balloon Rule Book and the ‘first chapter’ of the Balloon Rulebook, containing the rules for air operations with balloons was published in March 2018 by the European Commission (Regulation (EU) 2018/395 based on EASA Opinion (01/2016)

    All balloon operations on EASA balloons, commercial or private are regulated by this rule book. (Note: Annex I balloons are covered under the provisions of the Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2016.
    The Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) system that regulates UK Ballooning is being replaced on 8th April 2019. After this date, instead of operators applying for, and being granted an AOC, they will simply make an official declaration to the CAA of their intention to operate on a commercial ballooning basis. 

    The Declarative Process

    The CAA will start accepting declarations on the 8th April 2019 and this new system has a six-month transition period (until 8th October) to enable all operators to switch to the new declarative system. Therefore, operators need to decide how to proceed. They should either:

    • Make a declaration and pay the appropriate charge on or after 8th April 2019 and operate under the new system
    • This would be appropriate for operators who have an AOC expiring after 8th April 2019
    • Declarations should be made via the declaration form, SRG 2146. * Completed forms should be emailed to apply@caa.co.uk. 
      Or: 
    • Renew their AOC before the 8th April and continue to operate with an AOC until 23:59 on 7th October 2019
    • Make a declaration commencing at some point after 8th April 2019 but before 8th October 2019
    • This option would be for those AOC holders with a renewal date before the 8th April 2019 
    • As these AOCs will only be valid until 23:59 7th October 2019 the charges, and any refunds, would be applied pro-rata as appropriate * AOCs should be renewed by emailing a completed form SRG1312 to GA@caa.co.uk.

    Note that the CAA will not be renewing any AOC’s after the 8th April 2019.

    Oversight 

    The continued oversight and regulation of operators will be no different to the current Performance-Based Regulation (PBR) employed by the CAA GA Unit and existing operators will continue to be inspected at the intervals that they currently enjoy. New declarations will be assessed and an appropriate PBR oversight plan designed to ensure that safety is maintained both during the transition period and beyond. 

    The CAA has issued a guidance document for organisations or individual(s) seeking to Register as a Declared Balloon Operator (DBO), offering commercial ballooning flights where the principal place of business and registered office is located in the United Kingdom which can be found here CAP1741 Balloon Declared Operator Guidance. 

    The declaration form to declare can be found here SRG2146

    Declarations should be made via the declaration form, SRG 2146, which will be available on the CAA website on the 8th April. Completed forms should be emailed to apply@caa.co.uk