A petition for exemption is a request to the Director of Civil Aviation to provide relief from any specified requirement in a Civil Aviation Rule made by the Minister of Transport.

Under section 37 of the Civil Aviation Act 1990, the Director may, if considered appropriate, grant an Exemption from a rule requirement, with appropriate conditions. Before granting an Exemption, the Director will consider whether an applicant’s proposal provides a level of safety, or risk control, equivalent to that required by the existing rule. Aviation is a dynamic environment and individual circumstances vary, therefore the granting of a similar Exemption in the past is not justification for the granting of another Exemption. Each Exemption will be assessed on its own merits, with reference to the most up to date information.

24011-02 Petition for an exemption [PDF 31 KB]

Applicant responsibility

The onus is on the applicant to provide a risk and evidence based justification as to why the Director should grant an Exemption. This applies regardless of what Exemptions an applicant may have been granted in the past. To be able to successfully assess an application, the CAA requires the documentation and supporting evidence to clearly support the reasons for the Exemption request, including any proposed actions or conditions to maintain an appropriate level of safety. Petitions should be accompanied by safety and risk assessments. This will allow the Director to view proposals in context and should reduce CAA time spent analysing any associated risks. Failure to provide adequate information will result in a delay in the processing of the application while the CAA seeks the information necessary for it to consider the application.

Legal criteria

In order to grant an Exemption the Director will need to be satisfied in all cases that the risk to safety will not be significantly increased by the granting of the exemption. If satisfied of this, the Director will then consider the grounds in section 37(2) of the Civil Aviation Act 1990. It is essential that appropriate evidence is provided to demonstrate that these grounds are met.

The grounds in section 37(2) are:

  1. the requirement has been substantially complied with and that further compliance is unnecessary; or
  2. the action taken or provision made in respect of the matter to which the requirement relates is as effective or more effective than actual compliance with the requirement; or
  3. the prescribed requirements are clearly unreasonable or inappropriate in the particular case; or
  4. events have occurred that make the prescribed requirements unnecessary or inappropriate in the particular case –

Applicants need to demonstrate that the risk to safety will not be significantly increased by the granting of the Exemption and identify which of the above grounds in section 37(2) they are proposing to rely on for an Exemption. This is to provide assurance that all risks have been identified and mitigations are in place to ensure that risk to safety is kept as low as reasonably practicable.

Exemption specialist

The role of the CAA Exemptions Specialist is to assess the documentation and supporting evidence supplied, with input from subject matter experts, and provide an evidence based recommendation for the Director’s consideration. Therefore, the information and evidence supplied will directly affect the recommendation put forward to the Director. The Exemption process requires a CAA technical, policy and legal review before it is presented to the Director. Additionally, applications are prioritised alongside all other applications received. Therefore, applicants should allow adequate time for their application to be processed.

Charges

The charges associated with the processing of an Exemption request are promulgated in the Civil Aviation Charges Regulations (No2) 1991(external link). Applicants will be invoiced at the CAA Standard Rate hourly charge. These charges apply whether or not the petition is granted. The CAA may send progressive invoices.

Processing time

An Exemption goes through a robust and structured assessment by a number of CAA personnel before it is presented to the Director. This assessment process takes time and must be planned with consideration for other CAA work. Therefore an applicant should submit an Exemption petition at least 90 days in advance. This will ensure the Exemption decision is received before the date it is required, and provides adequate time for the applicant to implement a fallback strategy if the Exemption is declined. The CAA will consider an application inside this 90 day window, but there should be no expectation that a short-notice request will receive urgent or priority attention, particularly if the applicant has known about the situation for some time.

Frequently asked questions about exemptions

Current Exemptions

Docket # Description Issue date Expiry date
Part 19 Transition Rules
11/EXE/7 [PDF 515 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule CAR 19.207 (3) 01 Dec 2010  
17/EXE/37 [PDF 990 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in CAR 19.205(a) and the requirement in CAR 19.207(1)(ii) 26 May 2017  
Part 43 General Maintenance Rules
15/EXE/10 [PDF 283 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule CAR 43.54(a)(1)(ii) and (2) 30 Jul 2014  
14/EXE/28 [PDF 257 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule CAR 43.113(b)(2) 14 Jan 2014  
14/EXE/55 [PDF 247 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule CAR 43.151(a) 14 Jan 2014  
Part 61 Pilot Licences and Ratings
18/EXE/18 [PDF 672 KB] Exemption to CAR 61.5(a) Requirement for pilot licence and ratings, only with respect to the requirement to hold an RPL for the purpose of exercising the privileges of an RPL 05 Jan 2018 31 Dec 2022
18/EXE/13 [PDF 718 KB] Exemption to CAR 61.701(c) Eligibility (Agricultural Ratings) 05 Jan 2018 31 Dec 2022
15/EXE/23 [PDF 470 KB] Exemption from various Requirements in Civil Aviation Rules applicable to pilots holding military qualifications 05 Nov 2014  
13/EXE/95 [PDF 261 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule CAR 61.307(a) 19 Aug 2013  
2/EXE/27 [PDF 52 KB] CPL(Balloon) Flight review 19 May 2006  
Part 91 General Operating and Flight Rules
19/EXE/1 [PDF 536 KB] Exemption from the Requirements in Civil Aviation Rules CAR 91.207(a)(2) 18 Sep 2018 30 Sep 2023
16/EXE/34 [PDF 971 KB] Exemption from the Requirements in Civil Aviation Rules CAR 91.109 and 91.709(c)(2) in relation to Appendix A.26 11 Jul 2016  
15/EXE/43 [PDF 697 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule CAR 91.249(a)(3) 06 Jan 2016  
15/EXE/38 [PDF 514 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule CAR 91.7(a) 25 Jun 2015  
14/EXE/80 [PDF 266 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule CAR 91.535 (d)(3) 19 Mar 2014  
14/EXE/27 [PDF 254 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule CAR 91.615 (a)(1)(i) 07 Jan 2014  
14/EXE/24 [PDF 500 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule 91.501 (1) 10 Sep 2013  
10/EXE/58 [PDF 337 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rules 91.419 (c)(2) (i) and (ii) 05 Jan 2011  
9/EXE/47 [PDF 180 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule 91.703(d)(3) 26Feb 2009  
7/EXE/97 [PDF 218 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule 91.207(a) 06 Mar 2007  
7/EXE/28 [PDF 223 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule 91.7(a) 09 Jan 2007  
6/EXE/23 [PDF 195 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule 91.7(a) 22 Dec 2005  
Part 101 Gyrogliders and Parasails; and Unmanned Balloons, Kites, Rockets, and Model Aircraft – Operating Rules
14/EXE/56 [PDF 224 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule 101.205(a)(3) 14 Jan 2014  
Part 115 Adventure Aviation – Certification and Operations
19/EXE/16 [PDF 432 KB] Exemption from the Requirements in Civil Aviation Rule 115.153(c) 23 Oct 2018 01 Feb 2021
14/EXE/120 [PDF 406 KB] Exemption from the Requirements in Civil Aviation Rule 115.77(c) and 115.101(b)(1) 23 Jun 2014  
14/EXE/117 [PDF 271 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule 115.357(3)(i) 20 Jun 2014  
13/EXE/90 [PDF 260 KB] Exemption from the requirement in Civil Aviation Rule 115.357(3)(i) 19/04/2013  
14/EXE/73 [PDF 270 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule 115.357(3)(i) 21 Feb 2014  
Part 119 Air Operator - Certification
11/EXE/1 [PDF 253 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rules 121.71(h)(2) and 125.77(d)(3) 28 Jan 2014  
Part 121 Air Operations - Large Aeroplanes
7/EXE/72 [PDF 176 KB] Exemption from the Requirements in Civil Aviation Rules 121.71(h)(2) and 125.77(d)(3) 30 Jan 2007  
14/EXE/20 (1) [PDF 253 KB] Exemption from the Requirements in Civil Aviation Rules 121.71(h)(2) and 125.77(d)(3) 25 Sep 2013  
7/EXE/72 [PDF 176 KB] Exemption from the Requirements in Civil Aviation Rules 121.71(h)(2) and 125.77(d)(3) 30 Jan 2007  
14/EXE/20 (2) [PDF 248 KB] (Amended) Exemption from the Requirements in Civil Aviation Rules 125.77(d)(3) 25 Sep 2013  
14/EXE/101 [PDF 274 KB] Exemption from the Requirements in Civil Aviation Rules 125.607 and 125.611 27 May 2014  
14/EXE/119 [PDF 253 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule 125.557 (d)(1) 25 Jul 2014  
Part 135 Air Operations - Helicopters and Small Aeroplanes
17/EXE/28 [PDF 748 KB] Exemption from the Requirement in Civil Aviation Rule 135.369 13 Apr 2017 30 Apr 2022