The UK leaving EASA
When the UK left the EU on 31 December 2020, it also left EASA. On 1 January 2021, all UK-issued EASA licenses became the UK only, and the UK CAA was proclaimed the sole authority.
It means the pilots who received their licenses from the UK CAA before that date could no longer exercise the EASA privileges. In contrast, licenses issued by another EASA member state by the end of 2020 kept granting these privileges but deprived their holders of the right to operate UK-registered aircraft.
Transferring the UK CAA license to an EASA member state
Transferring a UK CAA-issued license to another EASA member state was possible until the end of 2020. Thousands of professional pilots used this opportunity and moved their EASA UK part FCL licenses to an EU country.
In addition, students who started their course in a UK-approved ATO before 1 January 2021 could transfer their training to a training organization under the oversight of an EASA member state.
Transferring the EASA license to the UK
EASA license holders wishing to gain UK licenses could do it by 1 January 2023. After this date, the UK officially stopped accepting EASA licenses.
The UK CAA website said, „From 1 January 2023, the UK will no longer be able to recognise EASA-issued certificates, approvals and licences for the operations and/or maintenance of UK registered aircraft. The CAA is encouraging holders of EASA approvals and personnel licences to begin the process of obtaining their UK equivalents now by applying to the CAA as soon as possible.“
UK CAA license conversion to EASA
Regardless of the deadlines and information above, please remember you can always convert your license by doing some extra training because EASA and UK are both ICAO documents.
However, the process will vary depending on your license type. Generally speaking, you must demonstrate that you meet the requirements of the EASA license you wish to obtain. It may involve taking additional training or exams.
If you hold a UK CAA license (with Type Rating or without), please get in touch with BAA Training, and we will offer you a training solution so you can get your EASA license and proceed with your professional goals.
Benefits of choosing the EASA license
If you are yet to start your pilot training from scratch and want to decide which license to go for, the EASA license can offer some significant advantages.
The costs involved
While the ATPL Integrated typically costs over £110-120k in the UK, the price is considerably lower in the EU. Also, far more EU-registered commercial aircraft exist than G-registered ones. Leaving aside who is or isn’t recruiting, statistically, the chances of getting a job are higher.
EASA licenses are recognized by a broader range of countries than UK licenses. In addition to EU member states, countries such as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein accept EASA licenses. Thus, if you hold an EASA license, you can expect more employment opportunities.
More rigorous training and testing
EASA is committed to continuously improving aviation safety. EASA licenses may be subject to more rigorous training and testing requirements than UK licenses. By meeting these requirements, you can be confident that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to operate an aircraft safely.
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Ground school and flight school all in one place
It is not a secret that some aviation schools in the UK may send their students to the USA for flight training as there is a wide range of aircraft and simulators available, as well as good weather conditions throughout the year. However, it is not very convenient in terms of traveling such a long distance and encountering additional expenses. Moreover, students who complete their training in the USA may need to obtain additional certifications or validations to meet the requirements of their home country’s aviation authorities.
In contrast, if you do your training in Europe aiming to obtain an EASA license, it is very unlikely that you will need to travel to a different continent for one of the training phases. To add to that, at BAA Training, you can complete both ground school and flight school not only in one town but in one facility – Lleida International Airport! The weather is suitable for flying all year round, and you are not distracted by unnecessary movement from one country to another.
So which one to choose – UK CAA or EASA?
Ask yourself questions about where you have the right to live and work, where you want to be based during your career, and which airlines you are interested in.
Some examples of airlines that operate in the UK and may accept UK CAA-issued licenses are British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, EasyJet, Jet2.com and Ryanair. If you wish to fly for an airline registered in an EU Member State, such as Wizz Air, or Vueling, you will need an EASA license. However, please remember that many British carriers (e.g., easyJet) operate under an EASA Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and require their pilots to hold an EASA license or have their UK CAA license validated by the EASA or the relevant national aviation authority.
To sum up, our recommendation would be to choose an EASA license as it is hard to neglect that price-wise and job opportunities-wise, it is a more favorable option.
BAA Training issues certificates of training accepted in all EASA member states. With it, you can contact the relevant National Aviation Authority (NAA) to acquire a pilot license.