Are approvals obtained in the field of aviation security (e.g., ACC3) considered in the TCO authorisation process?
No. TCO is a flight safety (not an aviation security) assessment. To this end, TCO addresses security-related issues only to the extent that these are relevant to flight safety and part of an ICAO standard applicable to air operators pursuant to ICAO Annex 6 (reinforced cockpit door, security training programs, etc.). ACC3 is subject to a separate EU regulation that is unrelated to the TCO Regulation.
How long should we expect the process to take for the initial TCO authorisation?
Although article TCO.300 (b)(1) of the TCO Regulation requires operators to submit their application at least 30 days before the intended starting date of operation, it is highly recommended to submit the application well in advance of the intended operation in order to allow for sufficient lead time for the technical assessment. Pursuant to article ART.200(b), EASA shall complete the assessment within 30 days, after the operator has submitted a complete application and has submitted all relevant material requested by the Agency. . Where EASA decides to conduct further assessments, to invite operators for a meeting or to perform an on-site audit, the timeline of 30 days does not apply and the TCO authorisation process can take several months, especially where the technical assessment results in findings that must be closed before EASA can issue the authorisation.
How is the economic aspect of the approval (commercial traffic rights - air services agreement) split from the EASA Safety oversight element?
EASA TCO only takes over the safety-related part of foreign operator assessment, whereas operating permits (commercial traffic rights) will continue to be issued by individual Member States. EASA does not (and cannot) issue operating permits and these remain an area of national responsibility. A valid TCO Authorisation is a prerequisite before a Member State can issue an operating permit.
Does EASA collect any fees or charges to operators under Part-TCO?
For the vast majority of Third Country Operators (TCOs), the process to obtain an EASA TCO authorisation remains entirely free of charge. Flat fees apply for specific activities performed in the context of the initial authorisation and continuous monitoring of TCOs. In 2023 the following charges apply. The amounts are subject to annual update in accordance with EASA’ Fees and Charges Regulation (EU) 2019/2153.
11.060 Euro (flat fee) for technical meetings held at EASA’s headquarters in Cologne, and
21.014 Euro (flat fee) plus staff travel costs for on-site visits to third country operators.
EASA organizes technical meetings and on-site visits only when deemed necessary, according to the criteria set in the TCO Regulation and following a risk-based approach.