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UK-EU Transition

References to EU regulation or EU websites in our guidance will not be an accurate description of your obligations or rights under UK law.

If you wish to make a formal application for an Aerodrome Licence, the information on this page may be of assistance to you.

The same application procedure is followed for Temporary, Seasonal and Permanent Aerodrome Licences.

Who needs a licence?

It is possible to operate an aerodrome without a licence

Some aerodromes must legally be licensed

It is a legal requirement for an aerodrome to be licensed if it is used for:

  • commercial passenger flights
  • public transport passenger flights
  • flying training in aircraft above a specified weight

Full details of the circumstances under which aerodromes must be licensed can be found in Article 212 of Air Navigation Order 2016 (CAP 393).

An aerodrome may require an EASA certificate instead of a UK licence

The European Air Safety Agency (EASA) rules came into force in March 2014. Aerodromes which fall within their scope must transfer from a UK licence to an EASA certificate by 31st December 2017.



Before applying for an aerodrome licence

Contact the CAA

At the earliest opportunity, applicants are advised to contact the CAA via aerodromes@caa.co.uk giving as much detail as possible regarding future proposals and developments.

Consult our publication on the licensing of aerodromes

We also advise applicants to familiarise themselves with the criteria in Civil Aviation Publication (CAP)168 Licensing of Aerodromes.


Applying for an aerodrome licence

Applications for aerodrome licences are made to the CAA. The initial application for an aerodrome licence must be made on the appropriate form. To apply



Key areas in your application

Your attention to the following ten points will help to ensure that your application will proceed smoothly. For full information on making your application, see Civil Aviation Publication (CAP)168 Licensing of Aerodromes.

  1. Timescale for processing applications
  2. Aerodrome manual and map
  3. Control over the aerodrome
  4. Statutory requirements of other bodies
  5. Charges for aerodrome licences
  6. Air traffic services
  7. Aerodrome traffic zones
  8. Helicopter operations
  9. Aerodrome licensing forms
  10.  Publications
  11.  Operations at a licensed aerodrome by aircraft that do not require the use of such a facility

1. Timescale for processing applications

The licensing process takes a minimum of 60 days to complete from the date on which the applicant's aerodrome manual (see below) is agreed with the CAA.

  • The CAA cannot undertake to reach a licensing decision within a particular timescale or to meet a commercial deadline of the applicant.

It is important that applicants submit the required paperwork sufficiently early to allow for detailed consideration of the application, including the aerodrome manual (see below), and for inspection of the site.

Applicants can and do experience unforeseen difficulties in meeting licensing requirements and this may prolong the process.



2. Aerodrome manual and map

Aerodrome manual

The manual for your aerodrome is the document describing how all operations at the aerodrome will be safely carried out.

An application for an aerodrome licence must be accompanied by an aerodrome manual.

The manual needs to describe the aerodrome's services and facilities, all operating procedures, and any restrictions on the availability of the aerodrome.

It should contain all the information and instructions necessary to enable the aerodrome operating staff to perform their duties. For a small aerodrome, the manual can be a short and simple document as long as it meets the above description.

For full details on compiling a manual, and for a check list to help you write one, see chapter 2 of our publication Civil Aviation Publication (CAP)168 Licensing of Aerodromes.

Aerodrome map

Your application must include an adequate map of the aerodrome, drawn to the scale shown on the licence application form and showing the aerodrome boundary for licensing purposes.

Sufficient information regarding the aerodrome dimensions must be available and where necessary the applicant will have to undertake a survey at their expense.


3. Control over the aerodrome

Applicants must be able to prove they have control over or access to the land they want to be licensed as an aerodrome.

The applicant must either be the landowner or have the permission of the landowner to use the site as an aerodrome, with rights to control the aerodrome under the terms of a lease or other operating agreement.

  • Overall responsibility and accountability for the management of safety at an aerodrome lies with the licence holder.

Applicants for aerodrome licences will need to provide the CAA with details of any leases held within the licensed area, or of any third parties holding rights over any part of the licensed area.



4. Aerodrome Traffic Zones (ATZ)

An aerodrome traffic zone (ATZ) is a fixed area of protected airspace extending around an aerodrome. Licensed aerodromes can apply for an ATZ to be established by the CAA.

Applicants should consider requesting an ATZ to be set up around their aerodrome by the CAA, especially if

  • flying training is going to be taking place at the aerodrome, or
  • the aerodrome is sited in busy airspace.

If either of these conditions are met, applicants will need to satisfy the CAA that they have in place adequate means to ensure that airspace around the aerodrome is safe for use by aircraft. This is normally best achieved by the establishment of an ATZ.


5. Air Traffic Services

An air traffic service provides for the safe management of air traffic operating on the aerodrome or in the airspace associated with it using two-way radio communication.

To obtain permissions and radio frequency allocations, you should contact Air Traffic Management via ats.enquiries@caa.co.uk.

If an Air/Ground radio frequency has not been allocated to the aerodrome then the applicant must apply for approval to establish a VHF Aeronautical Ground Radio Station. In order to do so, please use Form SRG 1417 Application to Establish or Change an Aeronautical Ground Station.



6. Statutory requirements of other bodies

Submitting an application for an aerodrome licence is a separate process to applying for planning permission for an aerodrome, or for any other permissions required to set one up.

The existence of an aerodrome is primarily a local planning matter and the planning process also may examine the environmental impact of proposed aerodrome operations on the local community.

If planning permission, where required, is not granted, it is unlikely that you will be able to use the site for more than 28 days a year, whether it is licensed or not.

The CAA considers that it would normally be appropriate for applicants to apply for planning permission, where required, and to have a reasonable expectation that such permission will be granted, before applying for an aerodrome licence.


7. Charges for aerodrome licences

There is a charge for making an aerodrome licence application. The charge relates to the licensing process and does not necessarily guarantee the grant of an aerodrome licence.

The CAA's charges for aerodrome licences are published in the CAA Scheme of Charges (Aerodrome Licensing and EASA Certification and Aerodrome Air Traffic Services Regulation).

We recommend applicants read paragraph 3.1 with particular care, as it contains details of the hourly rate charged if the CAA needs to spend more than the standard number of hours on your application.



8. Helicopter operations

For assessing licence applications for aerodromes which will only be used by helicopters, the CAA uses the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices for Sites Used Solely by Helicopters.

These are described in detail in ICAO Annexe 14 Volume II Heliports and in the ICAO Heliport Manual.

Heliports (incl. Helipads) that do not require to be licensed should consult with CAA Flight Operations (Helicopters) at Aviation House, Gatwick Airport South, West Sussex, RH6 0YR, or email FOI.Helicopters@caa.co.uk.



9. Aerodrome licensing forms

Before completing any of the below forms you are advised to read the relevant section of the Air Navigation Order.

The forms can be completed online, then printed, signed and submitted as instructed.



10. Publications

CAA publications are available on the CAA website at www.caa.co.uk/our-work/publications/publications, and copies may be obtained from The Stationery Office (TSO), telephone 0870 600 5522, fax 0870 600 5533, email customer.services@tso.co.uk, website The Stationery Office.

ICAO documents can be obtained from Airplan Flight Equipment, 1A Ringway Trading Estate, Shadowmoss Road, Manchester M22 5LH, telephone 0161 499 0023, e-mail sales@afeonline.com. See also 'Advisory Publications' page.


11. Operations at a licensed aerodrome by aircraft that do not require the use of such a facility

The following guidance is intended to assist aerodrome operators who accept flights by aircraft that do not require the use of a licensed aerodrome and/or permit aircraft operations outside published operating hours.

The aerodrome licence remains valid 24 hours a day. It does not cease to be valid outside of the aerodrome's published operating hours. If the aerodrome promulgates by NOTAM that it cannot provide rescue, fire-fighting services or other operational services, it is deemed as not available for flights that require the use of a licensed aerodrome.

Outside the published operating hours (or when the aerodrome is NOTAMed as not available for flights requiring the use of a licensed aerodrome) the aerodrome's Accountable Manager may determine that it is reasonable for flights that do not require the use of a licensed aerodrome to take place.

Please be aware that Article 212(7) of the Air Navigation Order 2016 provides that a national aerodrome licence holder must take all reasonable steps to secure that the aerodrome and the airspace within which its visual traffic pattern is normally contained are safe at all times for use by aircraft.

The aerodrome's Accountable Manager, in coordination with the aircraft operator, should ensure that there is an appropriate level of safety for the flights taking place and advise what facilities and services are available, or unavailable. An indemnity agreement is often used by aerodromes to confirm the arrangement and each party's understanding of it.

While such an agreement might govern liability between the aerodrome and an aircraft operator in the event of an accident or incident, it does not necessarily relieve the aerodrome's Accountable Manager, the aircraft operator and/or pilot-in-command of certain obligations under the Air Navigation Order.

We cannot provide advice or assurance on legal liability exposure or culpability in the event of an accident or incident. Accordingly, if you require advice on the interpretation of or limitation of liability pursuant to an indemnity agreement, or the aerodrome's responsibilities in law, then it is suggested you seek legal advice.

We would expect that the aerodrome and operator ensure that what they are undertaking complies with their licences and the law before commencing such activity and importantly that it is safe, otherwise it should not be taking place.


Additionally, we have some frequently asked questions that may give further information about aerodrome licences. Should these still not answer your question, please contact us.

Frequently asked questions

What information does the CAA need if the owners of an aerodrome change but the aerodrome staff do not?

The CAA should be informed of any changes in the circumstances at a licensed aerodrome. If the owner of a licensed aerodrome changes, but not the identity of the aerodrome licence holder, no action will be necessary. If the identity of the aerodrome licence holder changes, as the aerodrome licence is not transferable, the current aerodrome licence will be revoked and an application will be required for a new aerodrome licence to be issued to the proposed licence holder.


What is the difference between a Public and Ordinary Licensed aerodrome?

Two types of permanent aerodrome licence - 'public use' and 'ordinary use' - are granted by the CAA in accordance with Article 212 and 214 of Air Navigation Order 2016 (CAP 393). The essential differences between the two are that the hours of availability of a 'public use' licensed aerodrome must be notified in the UK Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) and the aerodrome must be available on equal terms and conditions to all persons permitted to use it. An 'ordinary use' aerodrome may only be used by the licence holder and those persons specifically authorised by them (i.e. with prior permission). Operations at an 'ordinary use' aerodrome are normally of the general aviation type.


Where can I find a list of licensed aerodromes

A complete list of aerodromes licensed by the CAA is available on the Aerodrome Licences and Boundary Maps web page.


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