For Industry

What does an operating licence authorise?

The air services licensed by CAR permit the carriage by air of passengers, mail and/or cargo for remuneration and/or hire. Services like scenic flights, which depart and arrive at the same location, and air services which are carried out by non-power-driven aircraft and/or ultralight power-driven aircraft are not required to be licensed by CAR. CAR has no role in the licensing of flight training schools or operators offering training flights.

What is the definition of Category A and Category B licence holders?

Category A licence holders are permitted to carry passengers, cargo and/or mail on aircraft with 20 seats or more and/or over 10 tonnes MTOM (maximum take-off mass).

Category B licence holders are permitted to carry passengers, cargo and/or mail on aircraft with fewer than 20 seats and/or less than 10 tonnes MTOM (maximum take-off mass).

What are the requirements for an operating licence?

There are 9 requirements listed in the Regulation governing the issuance of operating licences. The following conditions must be met by an undertaking before an operating licence can be granted (see Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No. 1008/2008):

  • its principal place of business must be located in Ireland
  • it must hold a valid AOC as issued by the Irish Aviation Authority
  • it has one or more aircraft at its disposal through ownership or a dry lease agreement
  • its main occupation is to operate air services in isolation or combined with any other commercial operation of aircraft or the repair and maintenance of aircraft
  • its company structure allows the competent licensing authority to implement the provisions of the Regulation
  • it meets the relevant ownership and control requirements of the Regulation
  • it meets the financial conditions specified in Article 5 of the Regulation
  • it complies with the insurance requirements specified in Article 11 of the Regulation and in Regulation (EC) No 785/2004
  • it complies with the provisions on good repute as specified in Article 7 of the Regulation

How do I apply for an operating licence?

Applications for an operating licence must be made using CAR’s application form. The application form is a fillable PDF form and it can be downloaded from our website along with relevant guidance material at,

Do I need to contact other organisations regarding a licence?

Yes. One of the requirements for granting an operating licence is that the applicant must be in possession of a valid Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). In Ireland, AOCs are issued by the Irish Aviation Authority.

All licensed EEA carriers are free to operate on most routes within the EEA without requiring to obtain further authorisation. However, for operations beyond the EEA, operators are required to obtain further authorisation(s). The Aviation Services Division of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport should be contacted in this regard- Tel: +353 1 6707444 or lo-call 1890 443311.

What is the application fee?

The application fee payable depends on the category of licence for which you are applying. For further information on the fees relating to airline licensing, please click here.

How long does the application process take?

Applications should be made well in advance of the proposed commencement of operations as it is important that the CAR has adequate time to process applications.

Article 10 (1) of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 provides that a licensing authority shall take a decision on an application as soon as possible, and not later than 3 months after all the necessary information has been submitted. 

The above timeframe assumes that all necessary information has been received with the initial application and is sufficient for the CAR to take a decision.  However, should the CAR require further information, the processing time then becomes dependent on a number of issues including how soon an applicant can respond to any queries arising. In any case, the CAR cannot issue an operating licence until the applicant has been granted an AOC which is the responsibility of the safety regulator (the Irish Aviation Authority). Therefore, it is not possible to give an average time in this regard as each application is different.

If the applicant does not engage with the Commission for a period of three months in relation to any queries or requests for further information, the application will be treated as abandoned and thereafter a fresh application will be required along with the relevant fee. 

When can I begin selling tickets?

Applicants are advised not to attempt to anticipate the issue of an operating licence by selling tickets or taking bookings in advance of securing an operating licence.

Where can I find copies of the legislation governing air carrier licensing?

The European and national legislation governing the licensing of air carriers is available on CAR’s website at the link below:

Where do I find a list of licensed air carriers?

A current list of all licensed air carriers is maintained on CAR’s website at the link below:

How long does an operating licence remain valid?

Operating Licences remain valid for as long as the holder is in possession of a valid AOC and meets all of the conditions of the licence.

How do I contact the Airline Licensing section of CAR?

You may contact the Airline Licensing section of CAR by:


Telephone: 01-6611700

Website contact form:

© 2021 Commission for Aviation Regulation
  • 3rd Floor 6 Earlsfort Terrace Dublin 2, D02 W773 
  • Phone: +353-(0) 1-6611700, Email: