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EU-UK Operations & 2020 Trade Agreement

EU-UK Operations & 2020 Trade Agreement

Following the decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, a trade agreement was agreed on 24th December 2020 between the two parties.  This forms the basis for future cooperation between the 27 EU countries and the UK.

This page provides the latest information for Non-Scheduled Charter Operators on the impact of the deal and how The ACA believes operations can be carried out after 01 January 2021.

The high level agreement is the starting point in negotiations on various areas, particularly aviation, and we are endeavouring to keep this information up to date as new bi-lateral agreements are now being agreed.  We advise Operators to speak directly with Aviation Regulators and Transport Directorates to ensure that they are fully compliant.

View the Permit & Negotiation Industry update of March 2024 here.



>  From 01 January 2021 Permits are required for ALL Non-Scheduled Charter Flights between the EU and UK.  Overflights will not require permits.

> Operators MUST hold Third Country Operator approval.

> 3rd and 4th Freedom should be automatically agreed for Passenger Flights.

> Cargo Flight 5th Freedoms can be bi-laterally agreed; Countries now agreed are: France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Sweden.

> Block Permits available from UK CAA, are now available from a limited number of EU Member States including Italy and France.



Feedback to the authorities is vital to support improvement in the new processes and systems.  We would like to hear from all our members about their experiences, both positive and negative.  We are regularly meeting with authorities and your feedback allows us to provide clear focus areas for the authorities.  Please send your feedback and, in particular any difficulties you are experiencing, to



The ACA EU-UK Trade Deal Position Paper: OPEN

Post Brexit Guidance and Ops info from The ACA and EBAA OPEN

The main agreement text available from UK Government: OPEN

The main agreement text available from the EU: OPEN

EU Member States Aviation Authority contacts for Operators to make permit applications: OPEN

UK CAA contacts for Operators to make permit applications: OPEN

EASA TCO application form: OPEN

UK TCO application Form: OPEN

ICAO Freedoms of the Air: OPEN

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Why does the UK CAA state that they need 48 hours’ notice to issue a permit?

This is the stated timeframe, however the CAA views this as a maximum timescale and is issuing many permits in shorter timescales.  The CAA team endeavours to issue permits as quickly as possible, subject to prioritisation for certain types of flight, such as air ambulance flights and medical air cargo.

2) Can any EU operator apply for a UK block permit and what does a UK Block permit allow?

UK Block permits are only issued to air taxi/smaller aircraft operators with either 19 seats and under or cargo aircraft 10t MTOW or under.  These block permits can only be used for flights involving applicable aircraft and not for larger aircraft within the operators fleet.

UK Block permits are only valid for 3rd & 4th freedom flights (both passenger & cargo).  Currently for the purposes of these permits the UK considers the EU as a whole and an EU operator with a block permit is allowed to operate from any EU country to and from the UK.

3) Why are some countries accepting that the Paris 1956 Multilateral Agreement is valid while others are not?

Our understanding is that this historic agreement is noted in the EU-UK Trade & Cooperation Agreement and therefore has validity, but individual countries interpret the content of the agreement differently, and not all current EU countries are signatories.

4) Do flights operating under the temporary 5th Freedom cargo agreements, reached with certain countries, still require permits?

Regardless of the temporary agreements, permissions will be required for both UK and EU operators for each flight.  These temporary arrangements ensure that on a reciprocal basis, the UK and certain EU Member States will approve scheduled/non-scheduled 5th freedom rights on all cargo services.

Please note: In this context, a 5th freedom is UK-EU-point beyond the EU. It does not include another point in the EU.

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