On May 26th, 2014, the European Commission adopted a new regulation (known as Part-TCO) requiring all Commercial Air Transport (CAT) operators outside the EU, or third country operators (TCO)– which includes US Part 135 Operators – to obtain a single EU-wide safety authorization in order to fly to, from or within the EU.
This new, single authorization will be exclusively issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and will be valid in all 32 EASA Member States, thus replacing the various schemes currently in place. Operators from outside the EU will no longer need to apply for a separate application for safety authorization for each EU Member State they wish to fly to, as is the requirement now.
An EASA TCO Safety Authorization is required for CAT flights landing the 28 Member States of the European Union, the 4 EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland), as well as Gibraltar, Aland Island, Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique, Reunion, Saint-Martin, and Mayotte. Please note that overflights of these territories will not require a TCO authorization.
The EASA TCO authorization process will include four phases: Application, Evaluation, Authorization, and Monitoring. Applicants will use a dedicated EASA web portal, allowing them to easily monitor all on-line communications with EASA during the application process. Authorizations issued under Part-TCO will not be subject to fees.
A 30-month transitional period will help ease the conversion to Part-TCO and allow previously approved foreign air carriers to continue operations to the EU without interruption.
However, all foreign operators must submit their application to the EASA for the TCO Safety Authorization within six months of the PART-TCO regulation taking effect. It's strongly advised that foreign operators submit their applications for authorization within this six month window (no later than November 25th, 2014) in order to guarantee uninterrupted operation to the EU during the transitional period.
The EASA website provides a detailed guide on how third-country operators may apply for their TCO authorization. Its advice includes the following:
For more information, please visit the following resources: