The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is responsible for licensing Irish air carriers involved in the carriage of passengers, cargo and/or mail for remuneration and/or hire under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of 24th September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community.
Under the Regulation, a Community air carrier can freely lease aircraft (through dry or wet lease agreements) registered within the Community as long as they continue at all times to operate at least one aircraft under their own AOC, except where this would lead to endangering safety.
Prior approval is required for safety reasons in the following cases:
(i) When at least one of the parties to a dry lease agreement is a Community air carrier;
(ii) When a Community air carrier wet-leases in (as a lessee) an aircraft (irrespective of whether the aircraft is registered or not in the Community).
Air carriers should contact the IAA where approval is required for safety reasons in the above cases.
Prior approval is also required from the IAA when a Community air carrier wet-leases in (as a lessee) an aircraft registered outside the EU. Approval may be granted if the following conditions are met:
1. The Community air carrier demonstrates to the satisfaction of the relevant licensing authority (i.e. IAA) that safety standards are equivalent to those imposed by the Community or national law are met; and
2. The Community air carrier can demonstrate that the leasing is necessary to satisfy one of following needs:
(a) Exceptional needs, in which case an approval may be granted for a period up to 7 months that may be renewed once for a further period of up to 7 months. The Community air carrier must substantiate, and the licensing authority has to evaluate, the exceptionality of the needs on a case by case basis.
(b) Seasonal capacity needs which cannot be reasonably satisfied through leasing aircraft registered within the Community, for which the approval may be renewed.
(c) Operational difficulties not possible or reasonable to cover with Community registered aircraft, in which case the approval shall be of limited duration strictly necessary for overcoming the difficulties.
Any Irish airline requiring to wet lease in an aircraft registered outside the EU must apply in writing to the Airline Licensing Department of the IAA for prior approval under Article 13 (3) of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 using the IAA's Leasing of Aircraft Form. A copy of this form is available to download here.
An application should be accompanied by the following:
· a copy of the lease agreement
· a copy of the current AOC held by the lessor airline
· copies of all relevant insurance certificates
Where appropriate, the IAA may require an air carrier to provide any additional information deemed necessary. The air carrier will also need to satisfy any necessary safety requirements as required by the IAA. Any approval issued by the IAA is subject to the IAA being satisfied with the safety standards of the lessor airline.
All licensed airlines are required to apply for prior approval under Article 13 (3) of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 before the relevant flight takes place. However, if the situation arises whereby an air carrier requires to lease in the services of a non-EEA registered airline outside of office hours in emergency circumstances and to meet short term requirements only, the IAA recognises that it may not always be possible to seek prior approval in advance of the operation of the flight. In such cases, the IAA requires to be notified at the very earliest opportunity after the requirement to lease in the aircraft has taken place. Airlines who experience the above should discuss reporting requirements with the IAA.