Closed petition Reciprocal agreement with the EU on the transfer of UK CAA Flight Crew Licences.

To seek a reciprocal agreement between the UK and EU with the transfer of UK CAA Flight Crew Licences to EASA member states to avoid applicants having to convert their licences by retaking all fourteen ATPL exams in an EASA state, a skills tests, an EASA ELP test and class 1 EASA medical.

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The aviation industry has been brought to its knees by the Covid-19 pandemic having a significant effect on Pilot mental health and wellbeing and now Pilots who wish to transfer their licences to Europe are facing the prospect of having to re-sit exams, adding severe pressure and huge expense at an already very stressful time.

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Government responded

This response was given on 8 October 2021

The UK Government is supporting UK aviation as we recover from the Pandemic and deliver the benefits of EU Exit. We will explore future agreements with the EU if it is in our interest to do so.

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The UK Government places the highest importance on ensuring that the opportunities arising from our exit from the European Union are realised. Withdrawing from the European Union means we have more autonomy to tailor aviation regulation according to the UKs competitive needs, while also adhering to international standards.

As part of the preparations for negotiations on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) reached with the EU, detailed consideration was given to the future relationship between the UK and EU on aviation, including whether to seek UK participation in the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as a third country. Within the TCA, we have agreed a chapter on Aviation Safety with an annex on Airworthiness. There is potential to consider further Annexes to the agreement in the future, including on personnel licensing, if both sides wish to do so.

However, should an agreement on licensing be assessed to be in the UK’s overall interest, we do not expect to secure this for some time, and it would require willingness from the EU as well. We are continuing to work to ensure an effective licensing regime supports UK aviation and delivering effective implementation of the existing agreement with the EU.
The Government is aware that holders of UK pilots licenses wishing to seek a license conversion from competent authorities of EU Member States in order to operate European registered aircraft are likely to encounter a cost and training burden. This process is a requirement implemented by the European Commission and applies in respect of all non-EASA licences, regardless of the State that issued the license.

In advance of EU Exit, the UK CAA provided advice and guidance to support holders of UK pilot’s licenses to transfer to an alternative EU State license. We are aware that many pilots chose to do so. At present, EU licences issued before 31 December 2020 will continue to be treated as if they were issued by the CAA until 31 December 2022, and pilots can be issued with a UK PO license. Pilots with a licence issued by an EASA state can continue to operate UK registered aircraft under a general validation, but only until 31 December 2022. After that they will need a UK licence.

The Government’s decision to maintain the validity of European licences, certificates and approvals was embodied in the Withdrawal Act. This decision was taken to ensure continuity for industry in the immediate period after the end of the Transition Period and provide ease for pilots and industry.

The Department for Transport has launched the Aviation Skills Retention Platform. This platform will allow former and current aviation sector workers who are currently out of work to register their skills, so they can be notified of relevant jobs opportunities, advice and upskilling opportunities. This platform is a tool for the future, which will aim to retain vital skills within the industry and help address the skills gap that existed prior to the pandemic. The scheme is open to anyone from the aviation sector who is looking for a vacancy. Since the start of the launch over 3,500 vacancies have been listed. For more information, please visit

The Government will continue to engage with the EU on future areas of safety cooperation where it can support industry while aligning with our objectives. We will also continue to work closely with industry and stakeholders to ensure that we make best use of the opportunities we now have, and to protect and enhance the sector’s skills and talent now and in the future.

Department for Transport