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Short & sweet no. 2
Flying commercially within the EU

Added 2021 – Updated January 2024

  • Can Temporary Admission be used to fly commercially? (Yes, it can)
  • What is the real difference between Temporary Admission and full importation in this context?
  • Which limitations disappeared in 2016?

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

The customs aspect of flying within the EU
Any aircraft flying into the EU will operate under customs control using either the Temporary Admission procedure (TA) or full importation (FI). There are no other options. The TA procedure can only be used by EU outsiders where the aircraft is owned (including any UBOs), operated, registered, and based outside the EU, leaving EU insiders with only one option: full importation. EU outsiders can, of course, choose to use full importation instead of TA if they find it beneficial. However, both options 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 indeed very different, and certain preconditions must be considered when opting for TA or FI. Non-compliance with the TA or FI procedures will likely activate a direct VAT payment (15-27%) and customs duty (2.7-7.7%). Please see the TA and FI scenarios A-C below.

A: Flying charters under Temporary Admission

Union Customs Code restrictions: The aircraft can be used for any purpose *)
Traffic restrictions: Where needed, 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: 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 Union 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

Union Customs Code restrictions: The aircraft can be used for passenger transportation without customs restrictions.
Traffic restrictions: Where needed, 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: Unlimited.
EU base: Yes, this is allowed.

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

Union Customs Code restrictions: The aircraft can only be used for passenger transportation with a ticket-like payment.
Traffic restrictions: The competent authority must always obtain proper traffic rights.
Internal EU trips with EU-resident passengers: Yes, this is allowed.
Period of stay: As long as the charter takes, yet limited to a maximum of 24 months. 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 Union 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 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. A ticket-like payment or a group charter fee split between and invoiced to each person onboard the aircraft will give the same result.

List of all OPMAS
Short & Sweet mails:

No. 21 – Part 4: Using Temporary Admission – how to prepare for a customs ramp check
Jan 2024 TA


No. 20 – Buying or selling aircraft within, to, or from the EU
Nov 2023 TA FI


No. 19 – The real differences between full importation and Temporary Admission
Sep 2023 TA FI


No. 18 – Exporting an aircraft from the EU
Jun 2023 - Updated 2024 FI


No. 17 – What is the correct use of a corporate aircraft?
Mar 2023 - Updated 2024 FI


No. 16 – Which customs procedures can be used for parking an aircraft within the EU?
Jan 2023 - Updated 2024 TA FI


No. 15 – Liability and risk elements associated with EU importation and admission
Oct 2022 - Updated 2024 TA FI


No. 14 – Part 3: Using Temporary Admission – when does an operator need help?
Aug 2022 – Updated 2024 TA


No. 13 – Importation impacts when traveling the world in corporate aircraft
Jun 2022 - Updated 2024 FI


No. 12 – How to get the 0% airline VAT exemption meant for commercial operators
May 2022 - Updated 2024 FI


No. 11 – Part 2: Using Temporary Admission
– what do customs look for during a ramp check, and why?

Mar 2022 – Updated 2024 TA


No. 10 – How to handle aircraft maintenance correct in a customs context​
Feb 2022 - Updated 2024 TA FI


No. 9 – Part 1: Using Temporary Admission – the Supporting Document
Dec 2021 – Updated 2024 TA


No. 8 – Do not fall into the operator trap when flying within the EU and UK
Oct 2021 - Updated 2024 TA FI


No. 7 – Which offshore aircraft registrations can be used with Temporary Admissions when flying within the EU and UK?
Sep 2021 - Updated 2024 TA


No. 6 – Flying with EU-resident persons onboard when using Temporary Admission
Aug 2021 TA


No. 5 – What about private use
of corporate aircraft?

May 2021 - Updated 2024 TA FI


No. 4 – What does ‘VAT paid’ mean?
Mar 2021 - Updated 2024 FI


No. 3 – Is a full importation needed
in both the UK and the EU27?

Mar 2021 - Updated 2024 FI


No. 2 – Flying commercially
within the EU

Feb 2021 - Updated 2024 TA FI


No. 1 – Flying with the
CEO

Nov 2020 - Updated 2024 TA FI

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