CAA Building

Which Licence EASA V UK CAA


When a pilot gets their licence, that licence is registered to a specific country and they are restricted to flying aircraft that are registered in that country. 


When the European Union was formed, it was decided that this was limiting and caused a lot of unnecessary paperwork. 

So the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) (formerly Joint Aviation Authorities – JAA) was formed, so that all EU countries could cooperate in developing and implementing common safety regulatory standards and procedures. This included developing a pliot’s licence that all EU countries would recognise and all pilot training would be to the same standard. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was part of this system until the UK left the EU on 31 December 2020.

Consequently, the UK CAA is no longer able to issue EASA licences, they can only issue UK licences, which can only be used to fly UK registered aircraft. This makes it more limiting than an EASA licence, which can be used all over Europe. However, as UK citizens no longer automatically have the right to live and work in the EU, working for a UK airline maybe your only option. 

If you choose to do EASA training, when you apply for your EASA licence, you must choose which country to apply to, as the UK CAA cannot issue these. Ireland is the most popular choice.

With regard to medicals – your medical must be held in the same country as your licence. However, if you hold an EASA licence, the medical can be done in any country but it must be an EASA medical and must be sent to your licence authority. So if you apply for example an Irish or Spanish licence you must have an EASA medical. There are only a few places in the UK that can do this for you.

When you start your training you will need to weigh up the pros and cons and decide which licence you want to train for. The training school must have an approval for either UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) or EASA training, or both.

Things to consider:

  • Do I want to work for a European airline?
  • Can I get a work visa for the EU?
  • Where do I want my records to be held?
  • Where can I get my medical?
  • Does my chosen training school have an approval for the training that I prefer?

The hope for the future is that there will be a bi-lateral agreement between the UK CAA and EASA, so that they will recognise each other’s licences but unfortunately this is still some way off.

If you need further help with this please feel free to contact the school.

Nicky Rowan
BSA’s ATO Compliance Manager

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