Procedures established for the suspension, variation or revocation of an AOC or PAOC are as follows:
In the event of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holder becoming aware that their documentation is no longer valid or appropriate, it is encouraged that a request is put in writing for the Certificate to be revoked, suspended or varied as necessary.
- Upon receipt of such a request, the CAA is able to revoke, suspend or vary the Certificate immediately.
- In the case of a limited company, the request should be signed by the company Director.
- If the company has ceased trading, the request should be made by the Administrator or Receiver.
In the event that action is taken by the CAA without the consent of the AOC or PAOC holder, Regulation 6 of the Civil Aviation Authority Regulations 1991 provides an appeal procedure. The reasons upon which the decision is based will be detailed in a notification letter.
- Suspension will be considered by the CAA only when there is a realistic prospect of the operator rectifying an issue within a reasonable time span. The operator must demonstrate that they have in place a plan for recommencing operation and the CAA should be regularly informed of their progress.
- Article 228(1) of the Air Navigation Order allows the CAA to provisionally suspend or vary an AOC pending inquiry into, or consideration of, the case.
- The inquiry or consideration may take the form of the Regulation 6 appeal procedure or investigation by the CAA.
- The provisional suspension or variation of an AOC can have a devastating effect on the viability of an operation and will be considered only when serious safety concerns arise.
- Once the matter is resolved, the AOC will be re-instated, varied or revoked as appropriate.
Actions taken by the CAA will be justified by clear supporting evidence. In most cases, a gradual deterioration in competence is witnessed, often linked to failure on the operators part to address significant deficiencies.
- When such a situation is observed, the operator will be informed that their Certificate is at risk unless positive remedial action is undertaken within a specific time frame.
- The operator will be left in no doubt as to what is required and will be invited to respond, setting out how they intend to restore confidence.
- The assigned Flight Operations Inspector may, if it is considered appropriate, offer assistance to the operator in prioritising their actions.
- Failure by the operator to deliver improvements within the agreed time frame may constitute grounds on which suspension or variation may be considered.
The holder of a suspended Certificate may apply for the suspension to be lifted.
- In order for a suspension to be lifted, the assigned Flight Operations Inspector must be satisfied that the operator is able to safely and competently operate all aircraft types on their AOC.
- If the suspension has been in force for only a short period of time and there has been no change in the management of facilities of the operation, minimal investigation will be required. If suspension has been in force for a considerable amount of time, a full audit and inspection may be necessary.
- Investigations will be conducted promptly in order for operations to recommence with the minimum of delay.
- The holder of a suspended document is required to continue paying charges to the CAA.