Directorate General of Civil Aviation (“SGHM”) has recently published the Circular on "Exemptions for Licensing and Operational Requirements for COVID-19 Outbreak" (“Circular”) which is in force as of April 1, 2021, aiming to regulate the granting of exemptions in flight crew licensing, time limitations, and operational requirements in flights. Additionally, as per the Circular which will be in effect until December 31, 2021, the inaccessibility of trainers and training facilities due to measures such as quarantine and international travel bans, limited or suspended flights implemented by Turkey and other countries within the scope of combating with Covid-19 pandemic is the major justification for stipulating such new rules and precautions.

The Objectives and Application of the Circular

Operators who want to benefit from the exemptions provided by the Circular due to non-fulfillment of their legislative requirements arising from certain events of Covid-19 outbreak, shall be required to submit their study in regard to hazard identification and risk analysis to SGHM for approval. Accordingly, the Circular sets forth such certain events as: (i) failure to obtain the relevant service from service providers, (ii) inability to access alternative service providers, (iii) restrictions/limitations encountered during the planning phase, and (iv) reduction in the capacity of training facilities or suspension of the activities of training facilities.

Licensing Requirements for Flight Crew

Moreover, the validity dates of the type certification, which will expire between January 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021, will be extended for a period of no more than eight months from the end of the validity period of the last licensing qualification test performed in the simulator. However, licenses must be processed by SGHM so as not to exceed the July 31, 2021 and must meet the following conditions that will be considered: (i) conducting a hazard identification and risk analysis, (ii) pilots to work in an air carrier company, (iii) pilots working under Commercial Air Transport Operators to fulfil the training and controlling requirements specified in this Circular, (iv) pilots working under General Aviation Operators to pass a theoretical evaluation that will include refresher training, the content of which will be determined by the operator, and then abnormal and emergency procedures. Additionally, as per the Circular, this evaluation is done by a type rated examiner (“TRI”) or type rated instructor (“TRI”). Accordingly, the evaluation can also be conducted using remote communication channels such as telephone and video conference. The Circular also stipulates that the training and evaluation must be documented by the operator. Furthermore, the situation of pilots who work under General Aviation Operators and do not meet the mentioned conditions, will be evaluated separately by SGHM. Last but not least, the qualification tests to be conducted on the aircrafts will be accepted until the end of July, 2021.

FTL Requirements

The Circular sets forth that task schedules will be published minimum two days in advance, including a minimum of twenty-eight days until September 30, 2021. In addition, the Circular regulates that this application should be monitored within the scope of the Fatigue Risk Management (“FRM”) system of the operator and measures to reduce the risk of fatigue should be taken by the operator.

Furthermore, ‘Class 3 rest’ is referred as a seat in the aircraft cabin or cockpit that is reclinable in the vertical direction and is not adjacent to any of the passenger seat under the Circular. The Circular also establishes that the term of ‘Class 3 rest’ will be apprehended as it is defined above, until the end of September 30, 2021. In addition, the flight operations to be carried out in this context should be monitored within the scope of the FRM system of the operator and measures to reduce the risk of fatigue should be taken by the operator.

Ezgi Ceren Aydoğmuş, Esra Temur