Pilot training and licensing post Brexit - Q&A

by Pete Hogston on Feb 05 2021
Pilot training and licensing post Brexit; what’s changed and what does it mean for aspiring aviators wanting to take the first step towards a career on the flight deck? Our Head of Airline Training, Pete Hogston joined us for a Q&A session and here’s what he told us.
UK CAA versus EASA license: What’s the difference and what’s the right choice for me?
Q. Since the UK officially left the EU on 1 January 2021 what has changed at L3Harris Airline Academy in regards to pilot training and what license are cadets issued on graduation?

At L3Harris Airline Academy we still offer Integrated and Modular training courses to help cadets achieve their Air Transport Pilot License (ATPL). On successful completion of an ATPL course cadets will graduate with a ‘frozen’ ATPL the minimum requirement to apply for airline jobs and begin your pilot career.

Q. So post Brexit, what National Aviation Authority (NAA) issues an L3Harris ATPL?

At L3Harris we offer cadets a choice. Our Essential and Standard ATPL training courses offer the choice to train for a UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) or European Union Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) issued ATPL. Cadets must decide which license to train for before commencing training. On successful completion of our Essential or Standard EASA ATPL the license will be issued by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

Alternatively, cadets might choose to train for our EASA ATPL course in Portugal. This training course follows the National Civil Aviation Authority of Portugal (ANAC) syllabus. On successful completion cadets will graduate with an EASA license issued by ANAC.

It is also worth noting our CAA and EASA licenses are fully recognised by, and compliant with, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations - ICAO is responsible for Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) for the aviation industry globally.

Q. What are the implications of these changes on medicals?

When applying for a pilot license the country issuing the license must also hold the pilot’s medical records. For example, if you wanted to apply for an EASA license issued by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) that same authority must hold your Class 1 Medical. If a pilot holds a CAA license they must pass a UK Class 1 Medical.

You cannot have your medical records held by the CAA and get an EASA licence or vice versa.

Q. Does the license issue determine what airline a pilot can fly for?

To fly for a UK registered airline, such as British Airways, a pilot must hold a CAA licence. To fly for an EU member state airline, such as Ryanair, a pilot will need an EASA licence. The EASA license does not necessarily need to be issued by the same member state where the airline is registered as some EU airlines accept any EASA licence.

Before deciding which license to train for a pilot must consider where they have the right to live and work. This is particularly important for UK nationals/residents since 1 January 2021 now the UK is no longer an EU Member State.

Q. Is it possible to transfer an ATPL pilot license? And what is the process?

Yes, it is possible to transfer a license. When transferring between EASA member states pilots must complete a State Of Licence Issue (SOLI) transfer. This can be a simple process as EU member states recognise each others EASA issued license – it usually involves completing a transfer form and paying a small fee.

Prior to Brexit the UK was a member state of the EU therefore the CAA was part of EASA and would follow the process as described above. However, post Brexit If pilots want to transfer a CAA licence to an EASA licence or vice versa it will involve a conversion of your licence, which may include additional requirements being met depending on the member state being transferred to.

Discover more about our UK CAA & EASA ATPL training courses in the UK & Europe
Discover more about our EASA ATPL course in Portugal
Discover more about our Modular ATPL courses