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An aircraft, with an EASA Certificate of Airworthiness, may not fly unless it has a valid Airworthiness Review Certificate (ARC). This Certificate is issued after a successful Airworthiness Review and has a validity of one year. The review entails a full documented review of the aircraft records and a physical survey of the aircraft. It may be carried out by an appropriately rated Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO) with Airworthiness Review privileges, an appropriately rated Combined Airworthiness Organisation with Airworthiness Review privileges, an appropriately rated Maintenance Organisation, an Approved Independent Airworthiness Review Staff (for aircraft subject to Part ML not used commercially), or the IAA.

Aircraft deemed to be in a "controlled environment" can have their ARCs extended twice, without further review, for a period of one year each time, by the CAMO/CAO. A controlled environment is one where the aircraft is managed by the same CAMO/CAO for 12 months and is maintained by approved organisations or independent certifying staff. A list of all CAMO/CAOs is available here.

All ARCs must be registered with the IAA when issued and the appropriate fee paid.

An Airworthiness Review may be anticipated by up to 90 days, without loss of continuity of the ARC, to allow for the physical inspection to be carried out during a maintenance check. This means that the new expiry date will be one year after the previous ARC expiration date.