International Airline Licences—Introduction

Who needs to apply?

General

Any airline proposing to operate scheduled international air services over*, into or out of Australian territory requires an International Airline Licence (IAL) before it can commence services. This includes cargo only operations.

Airline applicants are permitted to apply to the Department for an IAL; to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for an Air Operator's Certificate; and to the Office of Transport Security for Transport Security Program approval at the same time.

Code Share Arrangements

Airlines proposing to market seats and/or cargo capacity to and from Australia under code share arrangements with another airline also require an IAL. In these circumstances, an approved applicant will receive a limited licence which only authorises code sharing, provided that the services conducted on behalf of the applicant are operated in accordance with an approved Air Operator's Certificate and Transport Security Program. If the marketing airline in a code share arrangement wishes to commence operations with its own aircraft in the future, it will need to reapply for a full IAL.

An IAL application must be lodged by both the intending operator and the marketing airline in a code share arrangement.

Wet or damp-lease arrangements

Airline applicants proposing to use wet or damp-leased aircraft to conduct scheduled international air services must provide the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development with the following information:

  • a declaration that they intend to use wet or damp-leased aircraft to conduct proposed services;
  • details of the provider of the aircraft for the proposed services; and
  • evidence that the wet-leased aircraft provider holds an approved Air Operator's Certificate and Transport Security Program for the proposed services.

Approved airline applicants will receive a ‘restricted’ IAL. If the marketing airline in a wet or damp-leasing arrangement wishes to commence operations with its own aircraft in the future, it will need to apply for a full IAL.

*Airlines proposing to operate scheduled international air services over Australia without landing are currently exempt from the requirement to hold an IAL by a Determination of the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development under section 12(3) of the Air Navigation Act 1920 (‘the Determination’). The Determination commenced on 20 March 2009.

Eligibility

Australian Airlines

Australian airlines seeking an International Airline Licence to operate international air services are required to demonstrate that they can comply with the requirements of the relevant international air services agreement and/or arrangements between Australia and the country or countries to which they wish to fly. This is particularly important in relation to issues of substantial ownership and effective control, country of incorporation and principal place of business and/or incorporation.

The Australian Government requires Australian international carriers to meet a number of national interest criteria in relation to ownership and control requirements.

Ownership provisions require that:

Foreign shareholdings be limited to no more than 49 per cent of the total value of the issued share capital of the Australian airline.

Control criteria require that:

  • At least two-thirds of the Board members are Australian citizens;
  • The Chairperson of the Board is an Australian citizen;
  • The airline's head office is in Australia; and
  • The airline's operational base is in Australia.

Separate legislative provisions apply to Qantas Airways Ltd.

Foreign Airlines

Foreign airline applicants must demonstrate that they are designated by their country/authority under the relevant international air services agreement and/or arrangement between Australia and their country of designation. This can be evidenced by submitting a copy of a relevant Third Party Note or where this cannot be located, by providing a declaration that the airline is appropriately designated, signed by a Senior Airline Official.

Foreign airlines must also demonstrate that they meet the requirements of the relevant international air services agreement and/or arrangements between Australia and their country of designation relating to incorporation as well as ownership and control and/or principal place of business and/or incorporation.

Please do not submit a copy of the relevant air services agreement/arrangement as part of your IAL application.

Licence Maintenance

Airlines are required to comply with audit measures administered by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development in order to maintain their International Airline Licence and continue conducting scheduled international air services to and from Australia. Further details are outlined in the Maintaining Licence Status section.

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Last Updated: 9 July, 2014