EU-UK Operations FAQ’s
EU-UK Operations & 2020 Trade Agreement Frequently Asked Questions
1) Why are block permits currently being issued by the UK CAA to EU operators without reciprocity?
The UK CAA and DfT are well aware of the issue of the lack of reciprocity to date, for block permits, and the severe impact this is having on commercial competitiveness and loss of business for UK operators. Their intention is to negotiate the best deal with their counterparts and they are starting with the fact that the UK is issuing block permits and expecting EU states to reciprocate. In the long term this will allow the best possible access for all parties, however we all appreciate the pain it is currently causing. As an association we have requested that the DfT and CAA implement a timeline on this so that there is a clear point when, if the EU countries do not reciprocate, the block permits issued to that country will be removed. The position of the Authorities is they understand the seriousness of the issues, and the need for speed, and want to progress negotiations as a priority.
Please note: from member feedback we understand that, in addition to the UK; Italy, Sweden and Switzerland are already issuing block permits, prior to the bi-lateral discussions.
2) 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.
3) 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.
4) 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. The DfT is including this as part of their bi-lateral discussions with all EU member states and will keep us updated about countries who confirm their position on this.
If any member has received written confirmation from an authority accepting flights covered by the 1956 Agreement, please can they let us know so that we can include this in future member updates.
5) 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.
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 will then collate and structure this to provide clear focus areas for the authorities to work on. Please send your feedback to CEO@theaircharterassociation.aero