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The Third Country Operator Regulation

Regulation (EC) No 216/2008  establishes common set of rules for the EU aviation system and requires that third country operators engaged in commercial operations, within or out of the European Union (EU), demonstrate their capability and means of complying with the applicable ICAO Standards. The capabilities and means of compliance are recognised through the issuance, by the EASA, of a Third Country Operator (TCO) authorisation. The privileges granted to the operator and the scope of the operations is specified in the authorisations issued by the EASA. The Commission Regulation (EU) No 452/2014  ('Part-TCO') sets out detailed rules for the Third Country Operators Authorisations, including the conditions for issuing, maintaining, amending, limiting, suspending or revoking the authorisations, the privileges and responsibilities of holders of authorisations as well as the conditions under which operations shall be prohibited, limited or subject to certain conditions in the interest of safety.

With 'Part-TCO', a centralised safety assessment of third country operators by the EASA is introduced. Third Country Operators will however need to continue to apply to individual EU Member States for so-called Operating Permits. The TCO Authorisation is a prerequisite for Member States to issue an operating permit to a third country operator. Part-TCO considerably reduces the administrative burden on third country operators and Member States and provides for a single, consistent means of delivering a safety authorisation.

The EASA will conduct the necessary safety investigations including exceptional on-site visits in order to confirm that the conditions for issuing a TCO Authorisation are fulfilled. The EASA may amend, limit, suspend or revoke the relevant authorisation if the conditions according for which it was issued are no longer fulfilled.

Read more about the TCO process .