Commercial air transport operators, i.e. airlines and charter companies, must hold an air operator's certificate (AOC) issued by the national aviation authority (NAA) of the state where they have their principal place of business. Within Europe, the rules for commercial air transport operators are Regulation (EC) No 965/2012. Operators also have to have an operating licence granted under Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008. The AOC relates to the technical aspects of running an airline to ensure that passengers and third parties will be safe. The operating licence deals with the financial viability of the company.

To be granted an AOC, an operator needs to demonstrate to the NAA that it complies with all the relevant requirements of the air operations regulation. This includes 'Part-ORO', which defines the 'organisational requirements, i.e. how the company is run and 'Part-CAT', the commercial air transport requirements, which specify how the aircraft are operated. Parts of 'Part-SPA' relating to specific approvals will also be relevant.

For more information about the regulations, see 'Regulations for Air Operations and Air Crew training in Europe'.

For information about the management system requirements for commercial air transport operators (including safety management systems and compliance monitoring), see 'Management System Requirements'.

For information about applying for an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC), see The AOC application process.

I got to know Andrew McKechnie during the EASA rulemaking activities in 2017. Since then, I have highly appreciated Andrew’s valuable support in the development of the IATA consulting products in the domain of Evidence-Based Training.

Captain Yann RENIER, Head Training & Licensing, SFO -Flight Operations International Air Transport Association (IATA)