New air control regulation enacted by the Spanish Ministry for Public Works

06 December 2007

José Luis Lorente Howell

On 17 November, 2007 a new air control regulation was officially enacted by the Spanish Ministry for Public Works (“Ministerio de Fomento”) which aims to lay down transparent, non-discriminatory rules on the criteria for economic and technical competency which must be met by foreign air carriers holders of operating licenses granted by non-EU States in order to operate in Spanish soil.

Royal Decree 1392/2007


Pursuant the Regulation (EC) No 2407/92 of the European Council, each EU State is responsible for overseeing the safety of operators whose principal place of business is within their territory and for granting the appropriate operating licence and Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). An operator holding an AOC issued by an EU member is permitted to operate freely into and between any other EU members, while air operators or carriers registered and licensed outside the EU need to apply to each relevant State separately for accreditation prior to obtaining final permission to operate.

In Spain these prior accreditations are handled by the Civil Aviation General Directorate (“Dirección General de Aviación Civil”), whose functions also over, inter alia, the licensing, certification and regulation of aircraft, air crews, aerodromes and airports together with national air traffic control.

The Royal Decree 1392/2007 lays down the economic and technical competency criteria which must be met by non-EU air carriers wishing to operate and exploit air traffic rights arising from any flight to or from an Spanish airport, including passenger, mail and/or cargo for remuneration flights, provided that the relevant foreign operators are holders of the appropriate operating licence or air operator's certificate as laid down in the relevant non-EU legislation. These accreditation rules shall not be applicable to non-EU State owned aircrafts, humanitarian flights or non scheduled flights amounting not more than three IATA flights per season.

The accreditation application of a non-EU air carrier shall be submitted to the Spanish Civil Aviation General Directorate supported, among other, by the following documention: (i) appropriate operating licence or AOC; (ii) relevant aircraft matriculation registry certificate (“Certificado de Registro de Matrícula”) for every aircraft to be operated in Spain; (iii) an airworthiness certificate (“Certificado de Aeronavegabilidad”) of every aircraft to be operated in Spainissued by the appropriate non-Spanish authority; (iv) noise level certificate (“Certificado de Niveles de Ruido”); and (v) the policy of mandatory air insurance, complying with the requirements of The Chicago Convention and the Regulation (EC) No 785/04. Additionally, if the applicant intends to use in Spain leased aircrafts registered and operated by other carriers, an authorisation from the applicant’s State Aeronautical Authority is needed approving the terms of the lease arrangement and stating that the carrier is entitled to provide air services under safety standards comparable to those set by EU regulations.

Following Council Regulation (EC) No 2407/92 of 23 July 1992 the abovementioned national accreditation shall only be valid as long as the air carrier meets the obligations described therein. The Spanish Civil Aviation General Directorate shall decide on applications not later than 40 days after receiving all the necessary information. Non-response within the indicated term shall be considered as tacit rejection of the relevant application (“Silencio administrativo negativo”).