Short & sweet mail no. 2
Flying commercially within the EU

Added February 2021
  • Can Temporary Admission be used to fly commercially? (YES!)
  • What is the real difference between Temporary Admission and full importation in this context?
  • Which limitations disappeared in 2016?

This is the second article in a new OPMAS series called Short & Sweet, intended to offer a quick insight into various topics about flying within the EU.

This Flying commercially within the EU issue describes scenarios where an aircraft brought into EU by a non-EU operator that uses the aircraft commercially for charter (such as part 135).

Introduction
Any aircraft flying into the EU will fly under EU customs control using either the Temporary Admission (TA) regulation or full importation (FI). There are no other options. The TA can only be used by entities and aircraft owned, operated, registered, and based outside the customs territory of the Union while anyone can use the FI. However, both can be used commercially or privately if applied correctly.

It is often tricky for laypeople to see the differences between the two entry options, but the flexibility and long-term consequences are very different, and there are certain conditions, which must be taken into consideration when opting for TA or FI. Non-compliance with either the TA or FI regulations will most likely activate a direct payment of the VAT (ranging 15-27%) and customs duty (2.7-7.7%). Please, see the below-mentioned TA and FI scenarios A-C.

A: Flying charters under Temporary Admission

EU Customs Code restrictions: The aircraft can be used for any purpose *)
Traffic restrictions: Proper traffic rights must always be obtained from the competent authority where needed.
Internal EU trips with EU resident passengers: Yes, this is allowed.
Period of stay: Up to six months of flying within the EU.
EU base: Not possible.

Flying charter under TA is, regardless of the commercial aspect, considered to be private use in the EU Customs Code and grants extra privileges for how the aircraft can be used and the period of stay.

*) When the aircraft is used against a ticket fee it will be considered commercial use, please see scenario C.

B: Flying charters under full importation

EU Customs Code restrictions: The aircraft can be used for passenger transportation without customs restrictions.
Traffic restrictions: Proper traffic rights must always be obtained from the competent authority where needed.
Internal EU trips with EU resident passengers: Yes, this is allowed.
Period of stay: Unlimited.
EU base: Yes, this is allowed.

C: Flying charters under Temporary Admission selling tickets or similar (like airlines)

EU Customs Code restrictions: The aircraft can only be used for passenger transportation with a ticket-like payment.
Traffic restrictions: Proper traffic rights must always be obtained from the competent authority.
Internal EU trips with EU resident passengers: Yes, this is allowed.
Period of stay: As long as the charter takes yet limited to maximum 24 months. Here, the aircraft must leave the EU as soon as the charter ends if the aircraft is in an EU airport.
EU base: Not possible.

Flying charters under TA selling tickets or similar is considered commercial use in the EU Customs Code and grants limited privileges for how the aircraft can be used and the period of stay. Such a commercial flight cannot start as a Part 135 or 121 and continue as a private flight when inside the EU. Flying charters under TA selling tickets or similar is also the procedure used by all foreign airlines flying to EU destinations, but it is, of course, difficult for non-EU airlines to get traffic rights for internal EU trips which is often the real limitation in this category.

Consequently, an operator that sells tickets will be placed in this category C. This is not a catastrophe as any non-EU operator will normally fly back home immediately after the charter ends. It is not an option to take an extra rest or wait for a new charter within the EU before flying back home. A ticket-like payment or a group charter fee split between and invoiced to each person on-board the aircraft will give the same result.


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What does ‘VAT paid’ mean?​

Short & Sweet no. 4
The term ‘VAT paid’ is often used when an aircraft has been fully imported into the EU, but it is often used wrongly and misleadingly.
View online version

Is a full importation needed in both the UK and the EU27?​

Short & Sweet no. 3
This Dual Importation Issue describes scenarios where an aircraft is brought into the EU27 and UK by an operator who uses the aircraft for corporate and business purposes (such as part 91).
View online version

Flying with the CEO within the EU

Short & Sweet no. 1
The Flying with the CEO within the EU case describes a scenario where the aircraft is imported/admitted by a non-EU corporation that operates and uses the aircraft mainly for their own business, flying with the CEO and/or the management.
View online version

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