• If you are based outside the European Economic Area and you intend to operate commercial flights to, from or within the UK, you will need a Foreign Carrier Permit.

    There are two kinds of Permit available: a Scheduled Operator Permit for regular, scheduled services, and a Charter Operating Permit for short-term or one-off charter services.

    Short-term or one-off charter flights are also known as ‘ad hoc charters’.

    Applying for a scheduled or charter operating permit

    To apply for either permit, you will need to fill in an application form and be able to provide a certificate of insurance. You will also need to have ready access to several other documents (listed below), which the CAA may also request to see.

    On the application form, you will need to provide details of the aircraft you will use to operate flights as well as the routes and number of flights (for Scheduled and Series Charter flights) or dates of flights (for Ad Hoc Charter flights).

    You will also need to state which Advanced Passenger Information System you will use to inform the UK Border Force of passenger, cabin and flight crew information. More information on Advanced Passenger Information systems can be found in the visas and immigration section of the UK Government’s website.

    Information or documents that will be required to be submitted in support of an application

    • Aircraft details;
    • Route and number of services per week (for Scheduled and Series Charter flights), or dates of flights (for Ad-Hoc Charter flights);
    • Certificate of Liability Insurance for passenger, third party and war risks for aircraft to be used. The level of insurance must meet the minimum requirements of insurance for passenger and third party liability set out in Regulation (EC) 785/2004.

    The CAA may also require the following information on request (and reserves the right to require such information at any stage).

    • Certificate of competency and/or Air Operators Certificate and /or an Operating Licence issued by the aeronautical authority of the State of Operator.
    • Certificate of Incorporation or Business Registration
    • Certificates of Airworthiness and Registration issued by the aeronautical authority of the State of Registry for all aircraft to be used on services to the UK.
    • Confirmation that no dangerous goods or munitions of war will be carried. For a Dangerous Goods (DG) exemption, evidence of exemption / approval from State of origin or UK CAA is required, the appropriate completed form should be attached.

    Wet leased aircraft

    The CAA will however require all the above documents in regard to any foreign registered aircraft leased from another carrier, either with or without crew, which the applicant carrier proposes to use on services to the UK. The department will also require the following additional information:

    • Written confirmation that the lease has been approved by the lessee’s aeronautical authorities;
    • A copy of the lease agreement;
    • Confirmation of which airline’s operations and flight manuals will be used.

    Traffic rights

    The setting of policy and negotiation of traffic rights is undertaken by the Department for Transport. Before granting an operating permit for scheduled flights, the CAA ensures that the services are undertaken in accordance with the traffic rights and conditions provided under the air service arrangements the UK has negotiated with the state where the airline is registered.

    In the case of non-scheduled (charter) flights the UK seeks reciprocity to ensure that UK airlines are allowed similar opportunities from foreign authorities.

    If you have any queries in relation to the application of an air service agreements or designation under such an agreement then you should contact the Department for Transport.

    If you have any queries regarding Air Service Agreements and how they are applied, please contact the DfT using the details below.

    Samantha Sheridan
    Email: samantha.sheridan@dft.gsi.gov.uk

    Tamara Goodwin
    Email: tamara.goodwin@dft.gsi.gov.uk

    James Gilderoy
    Email: james.gilderoy@dft.gsi.gov.uk

    Office hours - 9.00am and 5.00pm weekdays

    Security direction

    If you are operating an aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 10,000kg or more, you must also have a security direction served on you. For further information, please contact AviationSecurityEnquiries@caa.gsi.gov.uk