Foreign (Aircraft) Operator Permissions are issued to enable foreign air carriers to provide commercial air transport services to, from and sometimes within a Territory. The permits are required by Articles 135 and 137 of the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order (AN(OT)O) and are issued locally by a person delegated by the Governor to do so in accordance with any guidance issued by the Department for Transport and in accordance with the various bilateral or other agreements signed by the UK with other States. Foreign Operator permits, required under Article 135, are not focussed upon safety but merely the right to undertake commercial activities within the Territories. Nevertheless, the Permit requires the air carrier to comply with the ICAO Annexes, and many of the safety related provisions of the AN(OT)O apply to foreign registered aircraft operating in Territory airspace. Foreign air operators may not operate services in a Territory unless they are in possession of such a permit.
Further details of this are found on the ASSI website under ‘Foreign Operator Permissions‘.
Foreign Operator Permissions, required under Article 137, are required for any operator (commercial or not) who wishes to carry out:
- aerial photography
- aerial survey
- any other type of aerial work.
The AN(OT)O defines Aerial Work in Article 157 as “any purpose (other than commercial air transport) for which an aircraft is flown if valuable consideration is given or promised in respect of the flight or the purpose of the flight”. As for Foreign Operator Permissions (Article 135), ‘valuable consideration’ means, amongst other things, payment in cash or kind or a contribution to the running costs of the aircraft. It is worth noting that a Foreign Operator permission for Article 135, rather than for 137, is required for an aircraft carrying out aerial work if the aircraft carries passenger(s) (for example, a photographer) not employed by the aircraft operator as this is classified as a commercial air transport flight. There are no cases where the issue of a Foreign Operator permission, for both Articles 135 and 137, for the same flight is appropriate one case or the other will always apply.
Unlike Foreign Operator Permissions required under Article 135, a Permission required under Article 137 is granted by the Governor not the Secretary of State. The Designation of the Article 137 process is combined with that for Annex 6 Aircraft Operations.
Thus, if a local OTAA is designated for Annex 6, then it will process the applications and issue the permit. If ASSI is designated, then it will be responsible.
Any applications received by the Governor’s Office should be referred to the appropriate designated authority. Details of the application process are on the ASSI website.