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Inside the European Economic Area (EEA), civil aviation is part of the Single Market, with few restrictions on how many flights or air operators can use a given route.

However, there are limits on the number of flights between the UK and countries outside the EEA. These limits are negotiated in bilateral treaties known as Air Services Agreements.

‘Scarce Capacity’ describes the situation arising if UK airlines wish to operate more services to a destination country than are available under the Air Services Agreement between the UK and that country.

In such circumstances, the CAA will determine which airlines should be awarded the right to operate the services available.

Scarce Capacity Allocation Certificate

Scarce Capacity Allocation Certificate is required in order to operate commercially on a capacity-constrained route between the UK and any other state.

Any air operator licensed in the UK is entitled to apply for such a certificate.

The decision to award the certificate rests with the CAA.

The application form for a Scarce Capacity Allocation Certificate is available on this site.

Certificates can be varied or revoked.

Related Information

Further reading

  • Previous decisions regarding scarce capacity allocation
Close Further reading


Full details and legal background to Scarce Capacity Allocation can be found in the following documents:

Close Legislation

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