Changes to European air operations and pilot licensing regulations, which have been brought forward in the UK, allow
some flights that would otherwise be subject to commercial air transport rules, to be undertaken as if they were
non-commercial. The changes apply to non-complex aeroplanes and helicopters, sailplanes and balloons (This means any
aeroplane or helicopter that falls below the EASA definition of complex aircraft, which most GA type aeroplanes up to
They allow more freedom for PPL, NPPL and LAPL holders around:
Currently the changes only apply within the UK, so before leaving UK airspace pilots should be aware that other
European states may not have implemented these changes yet. After August 2016, the changes should apply to EASA
aircraft throughout the EU. For non-EASA aircraft the applicability will always be dependent on implementation by
individual member states.
The maximum number of people who can share the direct costs of a flight has been increased from four to six,
including the pilot. Direct costs include fuel, airfield charges and any aircraft rental fee. Any other costs not
directly related to the flight, for example the annual cost of keeping, maintaining and operating an aircraft, cannot
be shared and no profit can be made.
The requirement for those costs to be shared equally has been removed. How much each individual person pays is not
prescribed, but the pilot must pay something.
A flight can now be advertised in advance, but it should be made clear that it is a cost sharing flight, and not
commercial air transport under an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), since it is an offence to advertise the sale of a
public or commercial air transport flight without being in possession of an AOC.
This aims to allow cost sharing between friends and colleagues and not to provide an air taxi service to members of
Both EASA and non-EASA aircraft, including those on a permit to fly may be used, although the if the aircraft is
being hired for the flight, it must have either a Certificate of Airworthiness or be a type approved permit to fly
aircraft which is already permitted to be used for self fly hire within the terms of the relevant exemptions.
Introductory flights are a new EASA provision designed to allow people to be taken on air experience tours in light
aircraft. Provided the following conditions are met, it is not necessary for the pilot to be an instructor or for the
flight to be operated under commercial air transport rules. The flight must be performed either via an EASA approved
training organisation (ATO) with its principal place of business in the UK, or through an organisation created to
promote aerial sport or leisure aviation, on the condition that:
EASA and non-EASA aircraft may be used; however they must have a valid Certificate of Airworthiness, or be a type
approved permit to fly aircraft which is already allowed to be used for remunerated training and self fly hire within
the terms of the relevant exemptions.
We would expect these flights to last around 30 to 90 minutes, although for gliders this may vary depending on the
weather. In the case of aeroplanes and helicopters, they must return to the place of departure.
They are not designed, and should not be sold, to replace the traditional trial lesson in which a qualified
instructor would typically give a demonstration of the controls and some flight training exercises with the participant
handling the aircraft. Flight time as a passenger on an introductory flight will not count as training towards the
grant of a pilot’s licence.
While holders of private licences may conduct introductory flights, they may not personally receive any payment for
An organisation created with the aim of promoting aerial sport or leisure aviation means a
non-profit organisation, established under national law for the sole purpose of gathering persons sharing the same
interest in general aviation to fly for pleasure or to conduct parachute jumping. The organisation should have aircraft
Introductory flight means any flight against remuneration or other valuable consideration
consisting of an air tour of short duration, offered by an approved training organisation or an organisation created
with the aim of promoting aerial sport or leisure aviation, for the purpose of attracting new trainees or new
The term marginal activity should be understood as representing a very minor part of the overall
activity of an organisation, mainly for the purpose of promoting itself or attracting new students or members. An
organisation intending to offer such flights as regular business activity is not considered to meet the condition of
marginal activity. Also, flights organised with the sole intent to generate income for the organisation are not
considered to be a marginal activity.
2015/029 contains more detailed information and FAQs.
Any queries or requests for further guidance should be addressed to GA@caa.co.uk.
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