Air Operations explained

The provisions of Commission Regulation on air operations are published in several documents: implementing rules (published in the Official Journal of the European Union as Commission Regulation and subsequent amending regulations) and associated Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC), Guidance Material (GM) and Certification Specifications (published on the EASA website as ED Decisions).

Commission Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 on air operations includes provisions for commercial operations, non-commercial operations and specialised operations (e.g. aerial work).

Further information on the draft and final requirements can be found in the Explanatory Notes accompanying those documents on the EASA website and in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Air OPS Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 and its amendments

  • Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 on air operations was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 25/10/2012. The initial issue covered only commercial air transport (CAT) operations with aeroplanes and helicopters. It entered into force and became applicable on 28/10/2012.
  • Regulation (EU) No 800/2013 amending Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 covers non-commercial operations with aeroplanes, helicopters, balloons and sailplanes (in Annex VI Part-NCC on complex motor-powered aircraft and Annex VII Part-NCO on other-than-complex motor-powered aircraft) and it also includes the consequent changes to the previously published Annexes I to V. The regulation entered into force and became applicable on 25/08/2013.
  • Regulation (EU) No 71/2014 amending Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 28.01.2014. It covers the requirements related to the operational suitability data, thus closing the gap between aircraft design and operations. The OSD requirements mandate that aircraft manufacturers, including those building helicopters, submit data which EASA considers important for safe operation. OSD covers pilot training, maintenance staff and simulator qualification; the master minimum equipment list (MMEL); and possibly other areas, depending on the aircraft’s systems. More information can be found here.
  • Regulation (EU) No 83/2014 amending Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 31/01/2014. It covers flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements for CAT operations with aeroplanes.
  • Regulation (EU) No 379/2014 amending Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 24/04/2014. It completes the air operations (Air OPS) regulatory package as Annex VIII Part-SPO. It includes the technical requirements for commercial specialised air operations with aeroplanes, helicopters, sailplanes and balloons and non-commercial specialised air operations with complex aeroplanes and complex helicopters. It also includes new provisions for CAT operations with balloons and sailplanes and CAT operations starting and ending at the same aerodrome with smaller aeroplanes/helicopters.

    Diagrams illustrating the rule structure are available here.

How different from EU-OPS and JAR-OPS 3 are the new rules of Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 and its amendments?

A table containing the cross-references between the old EU-OPS and JAR-OPS 5 (amendment 5) (both the rules in ‘Section 1’ and the ACJ/AMC/IEM of ‘Section 2’) and the current Regulation (EU) 965/2012 on air operations  is available here. The table:

  • indicates for each rule, ACJ, AMC, IEM related to EU-OPS and JAR-OPS 3 whether the provisions are transposed without introducing a content change, if they are amended, or if they are not transposed. For each entry where some change is introduced, a short explanation on the difference is provided. For new rules not originating from EU-OPS or JAR-OPS3, a short explanation is provided;
  • is provided for information purposes only.

Exemptions and derogations according to Article 14 of the Regulation (EC) No 216/2008

  • Member States have the flexibility to derogate from the Implementing Rules of the Basic Regulation (as set out in Article 14 of the Basic Regulation - Regulation (EC) No 216/2008). Further information is available here.

How can authorities or operators use alternative means of compliance (AltMoC) to the AMC published by EASA?


- Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 on air operations: ARO.GEN.120; Decision AMC/GM to Part-ARO: AMC1 ARO.GEN.120(d)(3), GM1 ARO.GEN.120

In accordance with the provisions set out in the air operations regulations, ARO.GEN.120, NAAs are required to notify EASA of AltMoCs approved within their State.

The only means of compliance to the Aircrew and the  Air OPS regulations that all organisations can use across the EU are the AMC as published by EASA. For AltMoCs, the following scenarios are foreseen:

  1. an AltMoC approved for an individual organisation may be used by another organisation, but that organisation must also apply for approval to use such alternative means of compliance;
  2. an AltMoC issued by the competent authority (e.g. NAA) may be used by all organisations for which that authority is responsible.

Whenever the competent authority accepts an AltMoC proposed by an organisation, it must notify EASA and inform all the other Member States. However, each Member State may decide how to deal with this information. This is explained in:

Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 on air operations:


“(d) The competent authority shall evaluate all alternative means of compliance proposed by an organisation in accordance with ORO.GEN.120 (b) by analysing the documentation provided and, if considered necessary, conducting an inspection of the organisation.
When the competent authority finds that the alternative means of compliance are in accordance with the Implementing Rules, it shall without undue delay:

(1) notify the applicant that the alternative means of compliance may be implemented and, if applicable, amend the approval or certificate of the applicant accordingly; and

(2) notify the Agency of their content, including copies of all relevant documentation.

(3) inform other Member States about alternative means of compliance that were accepted.

(e) When the competent authority itself uses alternative means of compliance to achieve compliance with Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 and its Implementing Rules it shall:

(1) make them available to all organisations and persons under its oversight; and

(2) without undue delay notify the Agency.

The competent authority shall provide the Agency with a full description of the alternative means of compliance, including any revisions to procedures that may be relevant, as well as an assessment demonstrating that the Implementing Rules are met.”

Information on Alternative Means of Compliance notified to the Agency

  • Here you can find a list of all the notifications sent by the Member States to EASA with the alternative means of compliance that they adopted.

Important links

  • Frequently asked questions
    If you still cannot find the answer you are looking for, please send us your question.
  • EASA presentations
    They are available on the Events page, under the related event.
  • Certificates, approvals, authorisations
    For questions related to your certificate or approvals listed under the OPSPECS, please contact the NAA that issued it.
  • Training
    The Agency provides training on the Aircrew and air operations regulations (and on other regulations). Further information is available here.
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