We use necessary cookies to make our website work. We'd also like to use optional cookies to understand how you use it, and to help us improve it.

For more information, please read our cookie policy.

UK Civil Aviation Regulations

These are published by the CAA on our UK Regulations pages. EU Regulations and EASA Access Guides published by EASA no longer apply in the UK. Our website and publications are being reviewed to update all references. Any references to EU law and EASA Access guides should be disregarded and where applicable the equivalent UK versions referred to instead.

Please see our information for exam candidates and approved training organisations

Reference to EU regulations are to those regulations as retained and amended in UK domestic law under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and are referenced hereafter as “UK (EU) Regulation No. 1178/2011”

Any flying school who wishes to train general aviation pilots towards licences issued in accordance with the UK Aircrew Regulation (i.e: the LAPL or PPL) needs to be either a Declared Training Organisation (DTO) or an Approved Training Organisation (non-complex) (ATO).

Schools who wish to train pilots for national licences such as the NPPL, with any of the associated class ratings (Microlight), (SLMG) or (SSEA), should be affiliated to the either the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA) or the Light Aircraft Association (LAA).

For schools or clubs wishing to train pilots on sailplanes please contact the British Glider Association (BGA). On balloons or airships please contact the British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC).

Which category of school do I need to be – DTO or ATO?

Essentially, it depends what courses you wish to offer to your students. Those schools who are Declared Training Organisations (DTO) can offer basic licence courses, such as the LAPL and PPL plus additional ratings like the Night Rating, Aerobatics Rating and for helicopters certain type ratings. The regulations governing DTOs are quite basic and are detailed in the UK Aircrew Regulation Part DTO.

In terms of General Aviation, the Approved Training Organisations can offer all of the courses that a DTO can offer plus others that are considered more complicated (but can still be added to a Private Pilot Licence), such as the Flight Instructor Certificates, Instrument Rating and Multi- Engine Piston and certain Single Engine Turbine Class Ratings.

It is important to note that ATOs offering these courses are classed as non-complex. Any organisation who offer, or wish to offer, training for Commercial licences (flight or theory) for both modular or integrated courses, higher performance single engine turbine class or any multi-pilot type ratings or any Examiner courses are considered as complex ATOs  and as such do not fall under the remit of the General Aviation Unit. For more information on complex ATOs and training courses can be found under the Commercial Industry section of the CAA website.



Who can apply

An organisation, with its principal place of business located in the UK, that wishes to carry out pilot training.

Organisations wishing to carry out training solely for microlights should contact the British Microlight Aircraft Association.

Organisations with their principal place of business located outside the UK, including the Channel Islands may only apply as an ATO – the UK Regulations do not allow for DTOs to exist outside of the UK.

If your organisation is trading as a registered company you should also submit a completed SRG 1760 form (Principal Place of Business Key Facts form). 


Charges as published in the Scheme of Charges (Personnel Licensing) are payable upon application, thereafter a continuation charge is made on 1 April each year. Please note for reasons of security credit/debit card details should not be sent by email.

Please note: Organisations needing to change a Registered Company or Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Number will require a new initial approval or Declaration as it cannot be classed as a change to an existing one

Legal Definition of Flight Training

The definition of commercial operation according to the UK (EU) Regulation  No 2018/1139 , The Basic Regulation, Article 3 (Definitions) (i) 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.”

Thus any operation conducting flight training for remuneration or valuable consideration is viewed as “Commercial”. It should be noted that, where the Operations Regulations, Part NCO are concerned, any references to ‘all pilot training being ‘non-commercial’ simply refers to the fact that the Operator does not require to comply with Part CAT (Commercial Air Transport) of the Operations Regulations.

 Use of non-G- registered aircraft for flight training

The Air Navigation Order 2016 Article 252, places restrictions on the use of non-G- registered aircraft for any work where remuneration takes place within the UK. A permit must be sought for the use of any such aircraft (this now includes aircraft registered in a member state of EASA, The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) for flight training

Flight Training for UK Licences in Crown Dependencies and Countries outside of the UK

For the purpose of the UK Aircrew Regulation, the Department of Transport have advised the CAA that the Crown Dependencies (Channel Islands and Isle of Man) are to be considered as ‘Third Countries’. The Regulation states that it is not possible for an organisation which has its Principal Place of Business (PPOB) in a Third Country to become a Declared Training Organisation under the oversight of the UK CAA. It would, however, be acceptable for the CAA to exercise oversight over an Approved Training Organisation whose Principal Place of Business is located in a Third Country.

An ATO or a DTO which has a PPOB located within the UK may choose to establish a ‘satellite’ operation in a Crown Dependency or other Third Country. Application to operate the satellite should be made using the normal process to add a site to either an ATO or DTO, however the training organisation must furnish the CAA with evidence that they have permission to operate from any National Authorities in whose territory / airspace they will operate (for example, if operating from the Channel Islands, there should be permission granted from both the local Department of Civil Aviation and  and also from the DGAC France as any landaway navigational flights will have to take place on French soil (it will not be accepted that such flights from the Channel Islands use airfield on the UK mainland as it is considered the length of over water crossing poses an unacceptable risk to the student pilot)).

Any organisation seeking to operate outside of the UK must seek advice from their allocated Inspector in the GA/RPAS unit before any application / declaration forms are submitted.