European Union (EU) Third-Country Operator (TCO) Resources

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Updated June 19, 2014

Currently, commercial air carriers must comply with the safety requirements of each country they visit. This is an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard that even holds true for foreign carriers visiting the US. The European Commission has adopted a new authorization process requiring commercial air transport (CAT) operators from outside the European Union (EU), also known as “third-country operators” (TCOs), to obtain a single EU-wide safety authorization to fly to, from or within the 28 European Union states, EU overseas territories and the four European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). CAT operators include all airlines and charter operators, including U.S. Part 135 operations.

All commercial operators who fly to or intend to fly to Europe, even for fuel stops, are required to apply for TCO authorization. All applications will require submitting:

  • General operator information and contact details
  • Type of operation, AOC and Operations Specifications
  • Fleet data
  • Other safety information, including accident history

Review the instructions for the TCO authorization application. (PDF).

Review the application for TCO authorization. (PDF).

For more information about EU TCO authorization, contact NBAA's Operations Service Group at (202) 783-9250 or [email protected].

EU TCO News

EASA, EBAA to Host Third-Country Operator Seminar in Germany
Aug. 6, 2014
Earlier this year, the European Commission adopted a new regulation that provides commercial air transport operators from outside the European Union (EU), also known as third-country operators (TCOs), with a method of obtaining a single EU-wide safety authorization to fly to, from or within the EU. On Sept. 24, the European Aviation Safety Agency and the European Business Aviation Association will host a seminar in Cologne, Germany, to provide additional information on the application process, and answer questions. Since the TCO policy was unveiled, NBAA has worked to ensure that commercial air transport providers are aware of the policy's implementation, its likely implications for operators and the requirements for compliance. Learn more.

Europe’s Third-Country Operator Application Rule Applies– NBAA Webinar Has Answers to Questions
June 26, 2014
The European Aviation Safety Administration (EASA) last month began accepting applications for its new third-country operator (TCO) authorization, which requires commercial air transport operators from outside the European Union (EU) to receive a single EU-wide safety authorization to fly to, from or within the EU. The new requirement applies to all airlines and charter operations, including U.S. FAR Part 135 and other commercial operators. EASA has reported numerous discrepancies in application submissions. NBAA will host a webinar on July 30 with EASA representatives to discuss the TCO application process and address any questions or concerns from operators. Learn more about the third-country operator application process.

EASA Releases TCO Authorization Application
May 28, 2014
The third-country operator (TCO) regulation went into effect on May 26, and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is now accepting applications for a TCO authorization from commercial operators. Before applying for a TCO authorization, operators should study the regulatory material and other information provided. Operators who currently fly to Europe can continue to do so, but must submit their application for TCO authorization before Nov. 25, 2014. Learn more and apply for TCO authorization.

New EU-Wide Safety Authorization Required for U.S. Part 135 Operators
May 7, 2014
"While the goal of a single safety standard across the entire EU is a laudable goal, NBAA remains wary of the new burden this new requirement will place on small companies," said Doug Carr, NBAA's vice president of regulatory and international affairs. "NBAA staff have met with EASA officials to explain our concerns, and we have told them that we will be closely watching how this requirement is rolled out." Read more about the new requirement for TCOs.

EU TCO Resources

May/June 2014
Business Aviation Insider: “EASA Implements New Requirements for Third-Country Operators”

Business Aviation Insider: “EASA Rulemaking Activities Likely to Impact Business Aviation”
May 6, 2014
EASA Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material to Air Operations of Third Country Operators (PDF)
April 29, 2014
European Commission Press Release: Single EU-wide safety authorisation for foreign airlines flying to the EU
April 29, 2014
EU Regulation No 452/2014 (PDF)
April 1, 2011
Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) 2001-05 (PDF)