On September 3, 2021, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (“SHGM”) has amended the Circular on Exemptions for Licensing and Operational Requirements for COVID-19 Outbreak (“Circular”) which has been in force since April 1, 2021. As per the Circular which will be in effect until December 31, 2021, the purpose of stipulating such new rules and precautions is to regulate the grant of exemptions in-flight crew licensing, time limitations, and operational requirements in flights due to measures applied to combat with Covid-19 pandemic by Turkey and other countries, inaccessibility of trainers and training facilities due to measures such as quarantine and international travel bans and limited or suspended flights.

The Objectives and Application of the Circular

With the Circular, the provision regarding cabin crew renewal training and controls within the scope of ORO.CC.140 has been repealed. In this context, operators who want to benefit from the exemptions from flight crew licensing requirements, flight crew training, and FTL requirements provided by the Circular due to non-fulfillment of their legislative requirements arising from certain events of the Covid-19 pandemic, shall be required to submit their study regarding hazard identification and risk analysis to SHGM 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 Circular’s provisions regulating flight crew license requirements has been amended and within this scope, the expiration dates of the type certification will be extended for a period of no more than six months from the expiration date of the last licensing qualification test performed in the simulator by the SHGM and the following conditions must be met: (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 fulfill the training and controlling requirements specified in the 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 or type-rated instructor. 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. Further, the qualification tests to be conducted on the aircraft will be accepted until July 31, 2021, provided that no more than 12 months have passed since the expiry of the last qualification test performed on the simulator.

Flight Crew Training

In the event that the pilots employed in Commercial Air transport companies cannot perform all or part of the training and controls, according to the renewal training program in Approved Business Training Handbook, due to the reasons stated in the Circular, it has been regulated those businesses for those who must meet the following conditions will be considered and is required to make a written application to SHGM. The following is required in this regard: (i) to have a valid flight crew license of the relevant type or class, (ii) not more than 12 months should have passed since the expiration date of the last licensing qualification test performed in the simulator, and (iii) not more than 12 months should have passed since the last licensing qualification test performed on the aircraft or in the simulator.

In addition, in the official letter to be attached to the application to be made to SHGM, information and documents showing that the applicant meets the above-mentioned conditions, hazard identification and risk analysis, together with evidence showing results arising from the COVID-19 pandemic for practice, documents showing the knowledge and qualifications of the alternative training and control program planned for the said training and controls, as well as the instructors and examiners who will take part in this program, by clearly stating the training and control issues that cannot be realized, the plan to return to normal operation, which has been prepared to complete the renewal training of each flight crew for which exemption is used and the FR.127-Flight Operation Exemption Request Application Form prepared for the exemption must be submitted.

However, it is stated in the Circular that if the applications to be made are approved, an exemption will be granted for not more than 12 months after the last licensing qualification test conducted on plane or in simulator of the relevant pilot, and the said exemption can be applied with the written approval to be given to the applications of the enterprises. Finally, it has been explained that no exemption will be granted to flight crews who do not meet the conditions listed in the applications to be made.

FTL Requirements

The Circular sets forth that task schedules of a minimum of twenty-eight days will continue to be published a minimum of two days in advance. Again, 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, the Circular establishes that “Class 3 rest”, which is referred to 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 seats will continue to be apprehended. 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.

Simge Kılıç, Esra Temur