Pilot licensing


The change from full regulatory alignment, mutual recognition and market access resulting from our membership of the EASA system to the limited market access and current recognition solely of aircraft airworthiness and environment certification, agreed as part of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, has thrown up many challenges.

The licensing imbalance present during the two years since the UK left the EU, whereby EASA-issued licences are recognised in the UK for operation of UK aircraft, but UK-issued licences are not recognised in EU states for the operation of EU aircraft, means UK flight crew licences have been seriously degraded in value and utility. The new state of play has actively prevented UK pilots, including those made redundant during the pandemic, from securing UK jobs.

BALPA has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, met with the Aviation Minister and raised the profile of this issue in the media. We have supportive MPs questioning the Government on our behalf, and it is a core component of our Aviation Recovery Plan plus our submission to the Transport Select Committee’s Inquiry into aviation’s recovery.

Members should be aware that as of 1 January 2023, the UK will cease to recognise EASA-issued licences and certificates for the operation of UK (G-registered) aircraft. All BALPA members were sent a comprehensive update on this on 25 February containing a guide for how eligible pilots can (re)acquire a UK licence whilst still holding their EASA licence. Members considering the acquisition of a UK licence should apply as soon as possible as there are steps in the process outside of the UK CAA’s control and for which timescales cannot be guaranteed.

If you did not receive this, or would like more information, please email the CAA's Licensing Team.

Further information can be found on the CAA website.

CAA UK-EU Transition Archive

Information about the legislation and processes in place which mostly end in December 2022 has been archived here.

 BALPA Position

The UK Government must agree with the European Commission a reciprocal agreement for flight crew and engineer licences, medical certificates, and training organisation approvals, which would benefit all airlines and remove barriers to UK licence holders securing (re)employment.

For further information for political or media stakeholders, click here to email BALPA.