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UK – EU Transition, and UK Civil Aviation Regulations

To access current UK civil aviation regulations, including AMC and GM, CAA regulatory documents, please use this link to UK Regulation. Please note, if you use information and guidance under the Headings, the references to EU regulations or EU websites in our guidance will not be an accurate information or description of your obligations under UK law. These pages are undergoing reviews and updates.



EC Regulations define an operator as “any legal or natural person, operating or proposing to operate one or more aircraft or one or more aerodromes.”

Operators must:

  • Have an operations manual
  • Have a management system.
  • Have an approved minimum equipment list (MEL) for each aircraft.
  • Complete and submit a declaration to us which details their aircraft type, their operational and continuing airworthiness arrangements, any approvals held etc.
  • Ensure that the pilot(s) flying the aircraft hold(s) a Part-FCL licence or a validation issued under Annex III to Part-FCL
Close Operator

Non commercial

EASA's definition of “commercial operation” is as follows:

 'Commercial operation' shall mean any operation of an aircraft, in return for remuneration or other valuable consideration, which is available to the public or, when not made available to the public, which is performed under a contract between an operator and a customer, where the latter has no control over the operator.

“non-commercial” has no specific definition but is classed as anything not falling into the remit of “commercial” as defined above.

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The CAA's oversight activities relating to SPO will be paid for by SPO operators.

It is not yet possible to determine the level of resource required and therefore the associated costs to be recovered through charging.

The regulations are required to be met by all member states and are standardised by EASA.

However, each member state will decide what they consider to be a high risk activity appropriate to their circumstances, meaning an activity may require an authorisation in one country but not in another.

Guidance for operators

Air Operator Certificates (AOCs)

An EASA AOC is only granted to operators conducting EASA Part-CAT operations.

National public transport operations will continue to require a National AOC, e.g. Police and Search and Rescue.

Operations undertaken by one person

These are included in Part-ORO.GEN.

EASA is developing further AMC/guidance material to cover one-person operations.

Beginning operations after making a declaration

Operations can begin immediately once a declaration has been made.

The CAA will verify the details supplied and may get in touch with the operator to confirm or query information, but this should not halt operations in the meantime. However, high risk operations will require prior authorisation.

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Part SPO and Part NCC/NCO

Operators can switch between these parts depending on the purpose of the flight.

The applicable Part works on a flight-by-flight basis. The crew would need to know the basis under which they were flying and which rules were applicable. AOC holders must make a separate SPO Declaration if also conducting SPO flights.

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Recognition by other EASA member states

Declarations made in one EASA country will be recognised by all other member states.

However, for high risk activities in another state the operator needs to ensure that both competent authorities are satisfied.

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Types of operation

The operator will be expected to approach the foreign NAA for any possible authorisation relating to high risk activities.

Flight Time Limitation rules relating to Part-SPO will be developed by EASA.


Aerobatic flights (for example practice flights) need to comply with Part-NCO/SPO outside the airshow environment.

The management of airshows is covered under the Air Navigation Order (ANO).

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Conduction winching

The requirement for a Part-SPA approval applies only to AOC/CAT operations such as sea pilot transfer.

For Part-SPO operators there is not the same requirement for the Specific Approval but Articles 88 & 89 of the ANO 2016 will still apply.

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Flights with a person on board operating non-aircraft equipment

Someone operating photographic equipment would be considered a Task Specialist rather than a passenger as long as they are undertaking their specialised tasks as assigned by the operator.

Where not undertaking their specialised tasks, or not being positioned to undertake specialised tasks, they would be defined as passengers.

Close Flights with a person on board operating non-aircraft equipment

Low level flying

Exemptions and permissions for low level flying will still be issued.

Such exemptions are not part of SPO but continue to be governed by the Rules of the Air Regulations.

Close Low level flying

Information for ATOs

ATOs must comply with Part-NCC or Part-NCO, depending on the complexity of the aircraft being used for the training.

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