On January 2, 2020 the new wording of the Law on Aviation of the Republic of Lithuania (the "Law on Aviation") entered into force (https://www.e-tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/TAR.9D2F66B96EBC/asr). In addition, from January 2, 2020 a new version of the Rules for the Registration of Civil Aircraft (the Rules for the Registration of Civil Aircraft) (https://www.e tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/TAR.A6DE2FECD6DD/GFYCdistEu) also entered into force. Along with the above-mentioned amendments, certain provisions of the Code of Administrative Offenses (ANC) related to aviation are amended.
The main innovations concern ground handling companies, aircraft registration and operation, as well as experimental category aircraft.
- It is established that an aircraft is registered in the Register of Civil Aircraft of the Republic of Lithuania not only if the aircraft owner is a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania, but also if the aircraft owner is a citizen of another European Union Member State or another natural person using the European Union legislation in the Member States of the European Union.
- In addition, it is established that an aircraft may be registered in Lithuania and in the case if the mentioned persons or legal entity registered in the Republic of Lithuania are aircraft operators, but in this case the aircraft must operate more than half of the flights from an European Union Member State airport (the wording previously used in the law “continuously operated” does not remain).
- It is also established that in Lithuania may also be registered aircrafts, whose owner is not the above-mentioned natural persons and also not legal persons registered in the Lithuania, however, the aircraft operates more than half of the flights from the airport of the Republic of Lithuania (the wording previously used in the law “continuously operated” also does not remain).
- It is established that an aircraft may be temporarily registered in the register of civil aircraft of the Republic of Lithuania for a maximum of one month (the previous wording of the Law on Aviation did not set any deadline, and the rules of registration of civil aircraft of the Republic of Lithuania provided for a period not exceeding 6 months).
- The conditions for deregistration of aircraft are being adjusted – provided, for example, that the registration of the aircraft is revoked if the aircraft did not have a valid certificate of airworthiness for the last 3 years prior to the date of the decision to revoke the registration of the aircraft and the previously statutory provision is waived “unless the owner or his authorized representative has provided evidence that the aircraft is airworthy within a time period specified by the registrar”.
- It is made clear that in case an aircraft is pledged or arrested, its registration cannot be revoked without the consent of the pledgor or an extract from the State Enterprise Center of Registers or a written notice from the court that the aircraft pledge or arrest has been revoked (previously, the extract from the State Enterprise Center of Registers was not explicitly named in the law as one of the documents under which the aircraft can be deregistered).
- The approved new wording of the Rules for Registration of Civil Aircraft of the Republic of Lithuania no longer provides for the previously valid basis for deregistration of an aircraft in the event that “the aircraft is leased without crew to a legal or natural person of another state for a period longer than 3 months”.
- The new wording of the Civil Aircraft Registration Rules of the Republic of Lithuania also stipulates that when registering, temporarily registering or re-registering an aircraft, the owner or his authorized representative must provide a translation into Lithuanian language of the official document certifying ownership of the aircraft and the document certifying the right to operate and / or operate the aircraft in not all cases, as it was before, but only at the request of the Transport Competence Agency (hereinafter - TCA).
Experimental category aircraft
- Introducing the concept of "conventional aircraft" means aircraft of an experimental category with a minimum potential risk and meeting statutory conditions (e.g. piloted take-off aircraft, non-powered aircraft used for children's aeronautical education and training, certain single-seater aircraft).
- Introduced the concept of "drone" means an aircraft used or designed to operate autonomously or to be piloted remotely without a pilot.
- It is clarified which requirements for experimental category aircraft are set by the Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration (hereinafter - LTSA) - it is established that the requirements for the experimental category of aircraft except conventional aircrafts, and the requirements for the design, manufacture, registration, maintenance, airworthiness, operation and piloting of unmanned aerial vehicles are established by the LTSA, taking into account the provision of flight safety.
- It is established that the requirements for accounting, marking and airworthiness of conventional aircraft, except for aircraft used for children's aviation education, are established by the LTSA or an appropriate body or association selected and authorized in accordance with its procedures.
- It is established that the procedure for the use of aircraft used for children's aviation education is established and its implementation is controlled by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports of the Republic of Lithuania.
- The requirement to use in the Republic of Lithuania only aircraft registered in the Republic of Lithuania does not apply to (among other things) unmanned and conventional aircraft.
Use of aircraft
- The notion of “nationality of the aircraft” is abandoned and it is established that only aircraft registered in the Republic of Lithuania are allowed to be used in Lithuania, except for the exceptions provided by law.
- It is established that a permit to operate scheduled transit flights of foreign civil aircraft without landing or with landing for non-commercial purposes in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania is not required if the aircraft is registered in a state that is a member of ICAO.
- It is established that a permit to operate non-scheduled transit flights without landing in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania or with landing for non-commercial purposes is not required if the aircraft is registered in a state that is a member of ICAO.
- It is established that non-scheduled commercial flights from non-European Union and non-European Economic Area countries with landing in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania and such flights from Lithuanian airports to European Union and non-European Economic Area airports require LTSA permission.
- It is envisaged that flights of foreign state aircraft to, from or through the territory of the Republic of Lithuania will be operated only with a permit (except for flights performed by NATO and its military aircraft in the airspace of the Republic of Lithuania, which perform air surveillance, control and defense functions).
- The law establishes provisions related to the approval of groundhandling service providers or self-handlers, the right of the Minister of Transport to limit the number of groundhandling service providers or self-handlers at the airport, the application of exceptions, establishes new provisions on suspension and revocation of approval.
- The law imposes an obligation on suppliers of groundhandling services and self-handlers to insure against civil liability for damage caused by all activities at an international airport, as well as the essential conditions for such insurance (previously this obligation, as well as other obligations for groundhandling service providers were in principle established only in the rules approved by the order of the Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania).
- All flights performed in Lithuania are divided into general air traffic (civil and state aircraft flights) and operational air traffic (military aircraft flights).
- The provisions of the ANC relating to the disqualification of a flight crew member and deprivation of the right to perform aircraft maintenance are transposed into the Aviation Act.
- The foreseeable cases where the departure of an aircraft is prohibited by the TCA (for example, if there are reasonable doubts about the ability of a flight crew member to perform his duties properly) and when the LTSA
- (for example, if no charges have been paid for the aircraft and a request has been received from the airport, the air traffic service provider and / or the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation to prohibit the aircraft from taking off).
- The requirement to hold an aviation security certificate is waived.
- The criteria of impeccable reputation provided by law are clarified;
- The Law is supplemented with provisions on the object, manager and handler of the Register of Military Aircraft of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as provisions related to the issuance and extension of military aviation specialist licenses, the provisions of the law regarding the competence of the commander of the army are clarified.
Together with the new wording of the Law on Aviation of the Republic of Lithuania, amendments to the relevant ANC came into force, which:
- Liability for non-compliance with the requirements for suppliers of groundhandling services and self-handlers to insure their civil liability for damage caused by all activities at the international airport (such as fines of one hundred and fifty to three hundred euros and managers of legal entities or other liable persons - from three hundred to eight hundred and fifty euros);
- The provisions of the ANC relating to the denial of the right to fly and the right to maintain aircraft are waived (as mentioned above, these provisions are transposed into the Aviation Act)
With the implementation of the above-mentioned amendments to the Law on Aviation, a number of by-laws in the field of aviation can be expected to be amended in the near future.
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