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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.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates the issue of an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) and, where applicable, the Continuing Airworthiness Management Approval (CAMO) and Operating Licence in accordance with the requirements as set out in the following legislation:

  • UK Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 (AOC)
  • UK Regulation (EU) No 1321/2014 (CAMO)
  • UK Regulation (EU) No 1008/2008 (Operating Licence)
  • The Air Navigation Order 2016

How do I apply?

Before applying for an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) you must first request a pre-application meeting with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) by contacting apply@caa.co.uk. The purpose of this meeting is to determine that you and your organisation have sufficient understanding of commercial air transport operations, including the applicable regulatory requirements. The CAA will also confirm the certification process and expectations.

Key management personnel, including the Accountable Manager, should attend the pre-application meeting. Attendees from the CAA will typically include management from Flight Operations, Airworthiness and Consumer Markets Group.

You should be prepared to discuss and demonstrate the following:

  • Structure of the organisation.
  • Location of your principal place of business.
  • How the AOC will be financed.
  • Intended AOC management structure.
  • Qualifications and experience of key personnel.
  • The intended scope of operation, including aircraft types and area of operation.
  • Your understanding of the applicable regulations.
  • Timescales.

The pre-application meeting will normally be held online.

If the pre-application meeting is satisfactory and both parties agree that the application may proceed, you will be sent an application form.

The completed application form, together with the appropriate payment, should be submitted to apply@caa.co.uk.

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How much does it cost?

The cost of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) application is dependent upon the type of AOC required and category of aircraft to be operated.

Full details of the payable fees are included in the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Scheme of Charges: Air Operator and Police Air Operator Certification.

There is no charge for the pre-application meeting.

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What do I need to send with my application?

The completed application form, together with the appropriate payment, should be submitted to apply@caa.co.uk.

Depending on the scope of operation, separate applications may also need to be made for required approvals, such as navigation approvals and approval for the carriage of dangerous goods. Where separate applications are required, this will be discussed at the initial pre-application meeting. Where published, application forms and supporting compliance statements are available on the CAA publications.

As a minimum, the following documents will need to be completed and submitted in order to progress the application:

  • Company operations manual
  • SRG1850A – Operations Manual (Part A) Guidance and Checklist (for aeroplanes only)
  • SRG1850B – Operations Manual (Part B) Guidance and Checklist (for aeroplanes only)
  • SRG1850C – Operations Manual (Part C) Guidance and Checklist (for aeroplanes only)
  • SRG1850D – Operations Manual (Part D) Guidance and Checklist (for aeroplanes only)
  • SRG1848/SRG1852 – Statement of Compliance with Part-CAT.IDE.H/A
  • SRG2815A – CAA Form 4 (for Accountable Manager, Nominated Persons, Compliance Monitoring Manager and Safety Manager
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What else do I need to know?

Following application, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will assign an ‘oversight team’ to process your application. As a minimum, this team will consist of a Flight Operations Inspector, Inspecting Officer (Operations), Operations Support Officer and Airworthiness Surveyor. Depending on the scope of operation, an Inspecting Officer (Cabin Safety), Inspecting Officer (Dangerous Goods) and Inspecting Officer (Ground Safety) may also be assigned.

The assigned oversight team will conduct a series of desktop and on-site audits and inspections in order to verify the organisation’s compliance with the applicable requirements. This will include, but not be limited to:

  • Review of the operations manual and other documentation provided by the organisation.
  • Interviews with key personnel.
  • Assessments of the management system and processes, including the operator’s safety management system, compliance monitoring function and operational control system.
  • Adequacy of the facilities.
  • Adequacy of the organisation structure, resource and personnel competence.
  • Training inspections.
  • Demonstration flights.

Applications for the Part-CAMO approval and Operating Licence will run together with the application for an AOC.

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How long will it take for my application to be processed?

In accordance with AMC1 ARO.GEN.310(a) (b) (1), the organisation's written application for an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) should be submitted at least 90 days before the date of intended operation, except that the operations manual may be submitted later, but not less than 60 days before the date of intended operation.

In practice, it typically takes between 6 to 12 months for an operator to complete all required steps and demonstrate compliance with the applicable requirements and for an AOC to be issued.

An AOC application may be rejected if the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) decides that insufficient progress is being made after 12 months from application.

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What happens next?

When satisfied that the organisation is in compliance with the applicable requirements, and that both the Part-CAMO and Operating Licence requirements have been met, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will issue an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and Operations Specification describing the approved scope of operations.

At this point, commercial air transport/public transport operations may commence.

Following AOC issue, the CAA will establish an oversight programme to verify the ongoing compliance of the organisation.

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How long is it valid for?

Air Operator Certificates (AOC)s are issued for an unlimited duration with the exception of A-A and Restricted A-B AOCs, which are issued for a limited duration (up to 12 months).

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